“Donating plasma saves lives. I will be forever grateful to all the donors who have stepped up and ask everyone to seriously think about doing it. Your donation helps a child like mine live a normal and happy life."
Danielle describes her son, Isaiah, as the nicest boy in the world. “He’s kind and creative but, most importantly, he’s a warrior,” she says with pride.
Isaiah, now eight, has been sick since he was two. For years he struggled to gain weight, but his doctors could not explain why. Danielle, now a patient advocate, did all she could to connect him with the right specialists and treatments, but nothing seemed to have an effect.
It wasn’t until blood tests revealed that Isaiah had a rare form of systemic sclerosis that real progress could be made, and Isaiah successfully began Octapharma’s intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) infusion therapy in 2018.
With a treatment plan in place, everything finally seemed to be looking up... until the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a drastic drop in US plasma collections that disrupted the global supply of IVIg. While plasma collections have since recovered and are now exceeding pre-pandemic levels, the plasma shortage in 2020 and 2021 highlighted the very real risk to thousands of patients like Isaiah who depend on plasma for their life-saving therapies.
Due to the plasma shortage, Isaiah went three months without receiving an infusion and quickly became very ill. Frustrated, scared and desperate for a solution, Danielle organised a plasma drive at her local Octapharma Plasma donation centre to shed light on the plasma shortage and encourage donations. More than 50 people showed up to support Isaiah and the thousands of other patients worried about the security of their next treatments.
“Donating plasma saves lives,” says Danielle. “I will be forever grateful to all the donors who have stepped up and ask everyone to seriously think about doing it. Your donation helps a child like mine live a normal and happy life.”
Educating others on the importance of plasma donation is now ingrained in Danielle’s family – so much so that Isaiah’s aunt now works at an Octapharma Plasma donation centre and his stepdad, Larry, donates twice a week. Isaiah himself has used some of his creative skills to design artwork for his local donation centre.
For many of us, the idea of a plasma shortage is little more than another remote, depressing item on the news. But for Isaiah and countless other patients and their families, it was a very real and present problem which, in some cases, could have had a deadly outcome.
As Danielle continues to encourage her community to donate, she reflects: “You never think something like this will happen to your child until it does and, with it, your world and your child’s world change forever. Please do what you can.”