SAY the word ‘plasma’ and many people might think of televisions, but to Kinross nurse Jadene Foster plasma means life.
Diagnosed with an autoimmune deficiency at 16, Ms Foster depends on monthly transfusions of antibodies from plasma cells to not only live an infection-free life, but also to survive.
“I go to Joondalup Health Campus every month to get my transfusion,” she said.
“Before I started receiving treatment I suffered from chronic asthma and repeated bouts of serious lung infections and pneumonia; I was always sick and constantly fatigued.
“In the last 10 years I have received over 120 plasma-based treatments which have allowed me to finish high school, graduate from university and now give back to others as a nurse at St John of God in Subiaco.
“I will need the treatments every month for the rest of my life and I can’t thank enough the donors who will make that possible.”
International Plasma Awareness Week, which runs from October 7-13, highlights the importance of plasma donation and recognises the role of plasma donors in saving and improving lives.
It also increases understanding about lifesaving plasma protein therapies and rare diseases.
“Over the last decade, the demand for some plasma products has increased by about 10 per cent every year,” Australian Red Cross Blood Service spokeswomen Louise Rowe said.
“Plasma makes up the majority of our blood and is full of important proteins and nutrients that protect us against invaders and help our blood to clot.
“Plasma and plasma products can be the last line of defence in the treatment of many serious medical conditions like cancer, bleeding disorders, immune and neurological conditions and burns.”
The Blood Service is calling on more Australians to roll up their sleeves and donate plasma, needing at least 20,000 new plasma donors before the year is out.
“Donating plasma is simple,” Ms Rowe said.
“Donating once, or just once more, will help Australian patients like Jadene get the plasma medicines they need.”
WA donor centres have more than 600 plasma appointments available in the next two weeks.
Call 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au.