DAYTON, Ohio – The Marianist tradition of linking learning and scholarship with leadership and service is alive and well at the University of Dayton. More than ever in the time of COVID-19.
On Oct. 13 UD launched a joint effort with Community Blood Center to collect COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) for the treatment of coronavirus patients from students who have recovered from coronavirus infection.
An outbreak of COVID-19 cases on campus in August triggered fast action, including the postponement of in-person classes. As they resumed with caution in late September the university looked for ways to turn a potential threat into a way to help the community.
UD first directed students to CBC for information about donating CCP then scheduled a series of “University of Dayton Warrior Convalescent Plasma Blood Drives” on campus. Messages about the CCP blood drives went out to all students and alumni.
The first CCP “Warrior” to donate Monday, Oct. 13 at the UD RecPlex was U.D. alumnus Sydney Jackson. Sydney first donated blood at Vandalia-Butler High School, graduated from U.D. in 2017, and now works in digital marketing at Reynolds & Reynolds.
Potential CCP donors must have tested positive for COVID-19 by the RNA test or tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies by blood test, and must be completely recovered.
Sidney got the email about the Warrior blood drive on her mobile phone and made an appointment.
“My positive test was in mid-August,” she said. “I think I got it from the gym. The symptoms were too perfect, I just knew. I had everything in the book, loss of taste and smell, it was the worst one.”
She said though she had multiple symptoms, “They were not terrible.” She was already working remotely from home. “Quarantine was fine,” she said. “It seemed normal. But when I told my co-workers they were so shocked!”
Sydney had a history of six blood donations with CBC. Her sister is a senior at UD and returning to campus for the Warrior blood drive was an easy decision.
“It’s kind of why I did it,” she said. “It’s familiar, it’s very convenient being here, and I can see my sister!”
Junior Nicole VanVoorhis became the first current UD student to donate when she came to the Oct. 15 UD Warrior Blood Drive. Nicole is from Kettering and made her first blood donation at Chaminade Julienne High School.
“I got it at the end of August,” said Nicole. “I live in a house and three out of four of us got it. My other roommate got it first and was actually much worse than us. She was the only one of us that got a fever. She tested positive, and I just had a little tickle in the back of my throat, and I thought, ‘I totally have it.’ When I tested positive, I wasn’t surprised.”
Nicole said the infection lasted about five days. “It was like a bad cold for me,” she said. “I lost my taste and smell, and that was really odd. I remember lighting a candle and not being able to smell it like I usually could.”
Nicole said she received several emails about donating CCP and knew she had been symptom free for the required 28 days. She was motivated by the example of her mother, who is a platelet donor with 111 lifetime donations.
“I heard her in the back of my head, saying, ‘You should do this,’” said Nicole. “I knew there would not be a lot of people who could do it or would be able to do it.”
Nicole is majoring in International Studies and Human Rights Studies. She was headed to a philosophy class after her CCP donation. “Our discussions are often about rights, what is a right? Who gets rights?” she said.
It’s a discussion that has gained new relevance during the pandemic. “I used to see people out and about, changing classes,” she said. “Now everyone stays home. I used to spend a lot of time in the lounges with my friends. It’s that lack of interaction now.”
Nicole’s AB positive blood type is in extremely high demand for CCP and her donations was large enough to equal three doses for patients in need.
“I hope more people will do it and realize how much of an impact this can make,” she said. “If they’re afraid to donate – don’t be! Go for it!”
The UD Warrior Convalescent Plasma Blood Drive is Monday, Oct. 19 in the RecPlex.
CBC is seeking COVID-19 survivors to become “Crisis Warriors” by donating their antibody-rich plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. CCP donors receive the “COVID-19 Crisis Warrior” t-shirt. Learn more and register to donate CCP at www.GivingBlood.org or call (937) 461-3220.