Individuals living with a primary immunodeficiency disease (PI) are missing the integral parts of their immune system that helps to fight infections. Some types of PI make people antibody-deficient and unable to make antibodies to fight these infections, so they rely on life-saving immunoglobulin (Ig) replacement therapy for their entire lives.
Ig comes from human plasma, which is the portion of blood that remains after red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and other cellular components are removed. Plasma contains water, salts, enzymes, antibodies and other proteins that are crucial in protecting the body from life-threatening infections. Ig replacement therapy gives the person with PI’s immune system the antibodies it needs to stay healthy.
This is why plasma donors are so important to the PI community—the lives of many literally depend on it.
Pictured: IDF Volunteer Ken Bass during a trip to his local plasma center.
IDF has volunteers that visit their local plasma centers to “put a face to PI” and share their stories with donors and plasma center employees. During this trip, the volunteer also says thanks to the donors and employees for saving and enriching their lives. Oftentimes, this is the first instance that these people have even heard about PI, and they are fascinated to learn that their efforts truly are making such a difference.
Recently IDF volunteer Ken Bass visited a plasma center in Oregon, thanked the donors and employees, and made true connections with the impact of his story. Thank you, Ken, for spreading PI awareness and sharing your journey with the outside community. The more these people realize that their plasma is saving lives, the more they are willing to donate. Spreading PI awareness to these donors not only humanizes the experience for them but also educates them on a set of rare diseases that they didn’t even know existed.
Click here to learn more about becoming an IDF Plasma Program Partner Volunteer.