DeKalb County man donates plasma to help COVID-19 patients

A DeKalb County man has recovered from the coronavirus and he's hoping he can help others who are sick with the help of his plasma. 

Fran Papola was diagnosed with Coronavirus about a month and a half ago. He spent a week in the hospital, but he's now home and has fully recovered. 

"I don't know why, I don't know how, but I was spared," Papola said. 

On Monday, he donated his plasma through the American Red Cross. 

"You hear about all of the goodness that people are doing and I wanted to know what can I do? And this was clear. This was what needed to be done," Papola said. 

His donation could be used to help people who are critically ill from the coronavirus. 

Vice President Mike Pence addressed plasma during a tour of the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday. 

"In clinical trials around the country, including here at Mayo Clinic, I'm told doctors are reporting that people that are on ventilators are getting better more quickly," Vice President Pence said. 

The process is quick and similar to giving blood, according to Dr. Bruce Jones, an infectious disease clinical pharmacy specialist at Candler Hospital. 

"We take your blood out, we take those antibodies, we give them to a patient with the virus and it helps them recover, Jones said. 

Jones said while the process may be simple, the difficulty is the lack of awareness. 

"Whether it's calling them or sending them mail, letting them know this is even an option. The hardest thing is getting the word out there," Jones said. 

Papola said he hopes by sharing his story, others will be inspired to donate and to help save a life. 

"If you're one of the lucky ones that have survived, go do this. There are a lot of people out there that really need something and this is a prayer for them," Papola said. 

Visit the American Red Cross website for more information on plasma donation.