Save a life and make some cash with your plasma

By By Sabriel Harris

By Sabriel Harris

I walk into Biomat Plasma Center before noon on a weekday morning, feeling a little sheepish but hoping they’re still taking walk-ins. I’m strapped for cash and convinced no one actually donates plasma for money. I glance around and am surprised to see 15 to 20 people sitting in the waiting room, talking on their cell phones, filling out paperwork or watching the movie playing on the plasma-screen television. The most surprising thing is the menagerie of people there. From blue collar workers to businessmen, and girls wearing Hollister and Abercrombie.

I breeze through the paperwork and nervously follow a nurse back to the donating room. There are about 40 people reclining in the chairs hooked to machines and watching the same movie that is playing in the waiting room. I lie back and anxiously flex my arms. Is it worth it? I glance around and see that the man next to me is wearing a U T-shirt and, of course, I am soothed.

The technicians are friendly and business-like, which is comforting. They have obviously done this hundreds of times. I am hooked up in no time, watching my blood pumped and sorted by the machine to my left, but I quickly become engrossed with the movie playing right above me and forget what I’m doing.

About 40 minutes later, I walk down 800 South clutching $40. Yes. It is completely worth it.

It seems that more and more people, like me, are feeling that their change purses are a little too light, and it’s only natural that the general population does and will turn to extra cash more frequently. It’s simple logic that green spends better on smaller things such as groceries and entertainment. Donating plasma is a quick, easy and safe way to earn some pocket change. Believe me, it’s less scary than it sounds.

Plasma is the clear, straw-colored liquid that remains after removing most cellular components of blood and it’s the largest component, making up about 55 percent. The procedure to remove it from blood is fairly simple. A needle is inserted into the arm and hooked to a machine much like when giving blood, except that this machine separates red blood cells from the plasma and puts the red blood cells back into your body.

As well as a treatment for some blood diseases in some circumstances. It is used in pharmaceutical research and for the creation of reagents, serums used by hospitals and laboratories in the testing of blood for various diseases, identifying blood groups and types and antibody detection.

According to Josh Smith, a technician at Biomat Plasma Center located at 38 E. 800 South, donations have gone up about 20 percent in the past six months. He also confirmed that plasma rejuvenates within 24 hours, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that a person can only donate twice in a seven-day period.

Compensation varies from center to center but at Biomat you receive $40 for your first two visits, $25 on the third if within seven days of the second and $35 on the fourth if seven days within the third. In a month, you could make about $240, in a year that’s more than $2,880. Other centers are right around this amount.

With the economy the way it is and most people trying to watch their budgets a little more closely, it seems pretty logical. We could all use an extra $3,000 per year, and donating plasma is a safe, easy way to earn some extra cash. My plasma money pays my grocery bills and takes me to a movie or out to eat every week. It’s become a necessary part of my life and I believe I need the money as much as my plasma is needed for research.

With minimum effort, I continue to have a fair amount of spending money in my wallet every two days and potentially save lives at the same time. Plasma is a natural resource one hardly thinks about and rarely uses. It is only fair we give it to someone who can benefit from it.

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