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Defy the Odds

Patient stories illuminate a new campaign to show plasma donors how much their donations matter to those in need.

90,000 people a year rely on plasma protein therapies

Do you want to help someone defy the odds? Be a plasma donor.

That’s the message of a new campaign from the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association, which represents producers of plasma-based medicines. Without these medicines, someone with hemophilia could experience a dangerous bleed and someone who has a primary immune deficiency could contract a life-threatening infection. Others need plasma therapies to treat burns, liver disease and a condition in pregnancy called Rh negative that endangers newborns.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the supply of donated human plasma – an essential component in medicines needed by people who have rare and serious diseases. 
Prior to the pandemic, donations had been rising about 10 percent annually, said Amy Efantis, President of the PPTA. With COVID-19 vaccinations rising and cases dropping, the PPTA hopes the campaign will remind plasma donors how essential they are. 

Some facts from “Defy the Odds:”

Every year, 90,000 people rely on plasma therapies.

For most conditions, there is no substitute and no synthetic alternative for plasma protein therapies. 

Donating plasma, the straw-colored blood component, is similar to giving blood. Donors can expect a clean, sanitary donation center where they staff will care for them during the process. 

During the pandemic, plasma became front-page news as a potential treatment for the novel coronavirus. But that caused some confusion and it’s important to clarify the ongoing value of plasma, said Karen Etchberger, PPTA’s Global Board Chair and also CSL Behring’s Head of I&T Operational Excellence.

“Through this campaign, we have the opportunity to educate potential plasma donors about the benefits of their donating, appealing to everyone from our current donors to the millions of potential donors who don’t hear our messaging today,” Etchberger said. “Our patients are resilient and determined – we need our donors to be the same, seeking out their local donation centers so they can make a difference.”

At, visitors can learn more about real people who depend on plasma-derived medicines. Patients persevere and overcome many obstacles as they pursue diagnosis and treatment. They deserve to be at the center of the campaign, Efantis said.

“We are cheering for these patients,” she said.