Plasma center seeks donors

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A new plasma center located in the same warehouse as Knights Liquor on Hartford Avenue is now open for plasma donations, and is actively looking for donors, who they will pay to give them plasma.

CSL Plasma already has two locations in Rhode Island, one in Warwick and the other in East Providence. The center deals only with plasma donations. According to the center’s manager, Catherine Colucci, plasma is needed to help with life-threatening conditions and disorders such as hemophilia, primary immune deficiencies, respiratory disease, and organ transplants.

Colucci said that although they advertise to get the word out – and they already have hundreds of other locations across the country – they are still in huge need of donors of plasma. The reason, she said, is because it takes around 1,000 donations just for one therapy for a single person.

“The need for plasma is huge,” Colucci said.

Princess Piedra, an assistant manager, added that there are tens of thousands of people who need plasma donations for their deficiencies.

One of those patients is Noah Bruno, an 11 year-old Johnston resident who receives plasma infusions every three weeks because of his immune deficiency, which he was diagnosed with at age 9. Noah’s mother, Colleen, said that he first had the plasma transplants done after having pneumonia for a month and being hospitalized, and now has them on this regular basis at his own home.

Colucci stressed how much plasma donations it takes for just one patient, as she said that for Noah’s plasma alone it takes ten people donating twice a week for a full year. She said the reason is because plasma is made up of mostly water, and it’s a roughly six month long process to convert donated plasma into plasma that can be put into somebody else. She also said that plasma is heavily regulated by the government and donations must be done in an exact way.

Colucci said that CSL plasma pays its donors for their donations, and depending on how much you donate it can be up to $400 a month. The first donation can take up to two hours and additional donations take about 30 minutes. The age of donors ranges from 18 to 64, she said, and before being approved by CSL the donor must answer 64 questions about themselves, then go through a physical that will check their pulse, blood pressure, vitals, and protein levels.

Once donors are approved, they can set up a schedule where they’ll donate up to twice a week inside the CSL location, where they have 18 machines set up.  Donors are encouraged to drink 1-2 liters of water the day before donating.

Colluci, who said they’re excited about moving to Johnston because it is a heavily populated area, said that CSL is the only plasma company in Rhode Island, and they have “top of the line equipment.” She also said they’ve been advertising their business at Salisbury Farm in order to get out into the Johnston community and show people how they can help patients with plasma donations.

“We’re a great company with a great cause,” added Son Nguyen, another assistant manager, about the plasma company.

Colucci said that the need for plasma is great right now, and the end result is helping out people like Noah who are in severe need of plasma donations.

She said that CSL employs 21 people right now, including licensed practical nurses, reception techs, phlebotomists, plasma processors, and their management team. She said that the location will have 30 employees when it is fully staffed. They also have a manager of quality and quality specialists to “make sure we’re giving top quality plasma,” she said.

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