National guard member who recovered from COVID-19 now donating plasma to the critically ill

Coronavirus

One man was treating COVID-19 patients on the front lines before the Air National Guard called him to active duty in March. There, he was supposed to work with troops on training for the pandemic.

That’s until Captain Jeff Money suddenly didn’t feel well. He told his commander that he thought he had the virus. Later that night, he collapsed in his hotel.

Money, 46, survived COVID-19. He went from treating it, to nearly dying from it. Now, he’s treating others for it again. His journey for the past 30 days, not a week as he had hoped, one he never could have predicted.

He went from healthy to having to spend six days in the ICU before eventually heading home to recover. Despite published reports, this nurse practitioner says the anti-malaria drug coupled with an antibiotic brought him back to life.

He’s put on 10 of the 25 pounds he lost and, as of last week, Money reported for state active duty for the Air National Guard. Destination: Rockford. One of Illinois’ new COVID-19 testing facilities.

“This last month was a mental adjustment for me,” Money said. “I tried to do somethings and my body let me know real quick that I wasn’t ready.” 

All of it was an awakening for Money who is feeling about 80% healed after previously thinking he was the picture of health.

Since then, money has a new mission: plasma donation. Convalescent plasma to be specific.

Dr. Kevin Ha is the Associate Director of Versiti Illinois — the blood center
that processed Money’s convalescent plasma. He said the demand for convalescent plasma is really high.

Money donated three to four units last week and plans to do so every week until doctors tell him otherwise. To be eligible, he needed to have tested positive for the virus at some point and he needed to be symptom free for 28 days.

He said he’s grateful to serve others in multiple ways now that he is back in action.

For more information on donating convalescent plasma you can head to versiti.org or ask your doctor about FDA approved sites in your area.

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