For Christian Wang, a 10-year-old boy from Mount Pleasant, receiving blood plasma-based medications are essential to keeping him healthy.
With new renovations expanding donation areas at the city’s BioLife Plasma Services, which can now accommodate 12 more donors at once, Wang can get more of the medication he so desperately needs.
“We’ve gone from being a 48 bed center to a 60 bed center,” said Danielle Wells, the regional marketing representative for Michigan. “We can accommodate more donors and almost eliminate wait time. Things can get pretty busy. It’s good to have more beds available to accommodate peak time rushes.”
The Mount Pleasant BioLife Center, 4279 E. Blue Grass Road, currently gets between 1,000 and 1,500 donations every week. Those numbers drop during the summer.
However, Wells hopes the numbers will grow more once Central Michigan University students come back on campus in the fall.
Plasma, the water and protein found in blood, is collected at BioLife centers and then used to create medications to treat various ailments. One of these ailments is Common Variable Immune Deficiency, an immune disorder.
Wang uses the medication made from plasma to treat his CVID.
“With his form of CVID, his body does not make antibodies,” said Rob Wang, Christian’s father and coordinator of communications for CMU’s College of Science and Technology. “His body also doesn’t remember (getting sick.) The medication he gets from the plasma, everybody else’s antibodies go into that medication.”
Without the plasma-based medication, Wang would not be able to play baseball, go to school or hang out with friends without worrying about getting sick.
Rob Wang said the medication has saved his son’s life.
“Without it, the first five years of his life were a struggle,” Rob said. “We were in and out of hospitals constantly. He would get an infection and wouldn’t be able to fight it off. It was like that ever since he was born.”
Now, Rob, his wife Becky, and their son travel around Michigan to thank plasma donors and the staff at facilities. He said it’s nice to show people they’re making a difference in people’s lives.
“It’s great that people can get paid to give plasma, but it’s so important to families like ours and families that get that medication,” Rob said. “Christian would basically be stuck in the house (without it.) It is important. It changed his life.”
Wells said an hour spent in the donation center can make an impact on many lives, including the Wang family’s.
BioLife tries to educate their donors about difference they are making, she said
“They are life savers,” Wells said. “Human plasma can be made into several life-saving medications. We call it liquid gold in the business.”
To show appreciation to its donors, BioLife is adjusting their compensation for July and August. They will give donors $20 for their first session and $45 for the second session in a week. This will allow donors to make $260 in a month.
Wells said she hopes the added incentive will get more people to donate.
The grand re-opening ceremony for the Mount Pleasant BioLife is schedule from noon-1:30 p.m. on June 26.
Patrons can tour the newly renovated center during that time. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony and lunch provided.
Despite the ceremony, the center is open for donations now.