Kirby Winn

A Quad Cities woman who’s recovered from COVID-19 is now donating her blood in hopes of helping others recover.

Kirby Winn, spokesman for the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center in Davenport, says the 60-year-old (who wished to remain anonymous) was hospitalized, but now seems to be in good health. Winn says her blood developed antibodies to fight the infection.

“She feels very fortunate that just having recovered from being so ill, it was important to her and now she’s saying, ‘What can I do to help others, it seems like I have this purpose now,'” Winn says. The blood center serves 115 hospitals in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri, and it’s lining up other possible donors who’ve had COVID-19 and since recovered.

Winn emphasizes antibodies from someone else are not an instant cure, but it can help people trying to fight a coronavirus infection. “Maybe it gets someone out of a hospital room and frees up that capacity, potentially takes someone off a ventilator and makes that capacity available in the system,” Winn says.

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is accepting referrals from doctors and other health care providers for COVID-19 blood donations. For the antibody program, the donor must be someone who tested positive, not just a person who showed symptoms.

(By Herb Trix, WVIK, Rock Island)