Looking for a way to make a difference on Rare Disease Day? Consider donating plasma like many CSL employees do. Donated plasma is a critical raw material for medicines needed by patients who live with rare diseases. We asked five employees why donating plasma matters to them.
Willy Pardiñas, Senior Vice President & General Manager
Boca Raton, Florida
Until Willy Pardiñas joined CSL Plasma last year, he had been a dedicated blood donor, but had never donated plasma. Once he started learning about the life-saving benefits of donating plasma, Pardiñas was hooked. He now aims to donate at least once a week.
Pardiñas, who oversees operations of the company’s nearly 300 plasma collection centers in the U.S., Germany, Hungary and China, says donating plasma also gives him an appreciation and sense of gratitude for plasma donors.
“Working for a company that focuses on saving lives and empowers employees to help patients and donors, makes you raise your game,” Pardiñas says. “That motivates me to learn and do better.”
Jason Tanner, Maintenance Mechanic
For Jason Tanner, who works in maintenance at CSL’s manufacturing site in Kankakee, donating plasma is personal.
“My cousin’s life was saved from a product that we make,” says Tanner. “That’s why I’m so passionate about plasma donating.”
Because Tanner consistently donates twice a week, his co-workers have taken to calling him “the plasma guy.” The nickname is a source of pride and he often recruits colleagues to donate, too.
“It’s very motivating to come to work and hear from patients who come talk to the plant,” Tanner says. “It puts a face on what we do, instead of just vials on a line.”
Guy Redman, Product Inspector
Two days a week, Guy Redman takes the long way home after his shift at CSL Behring’s manufacturing site in Kankakee, Illinois. He works just a few miles from home, but makes regular trips 30 miles away to a CSL Plasma Center in Hazel Crest. He carpools there with a few other people who work at the Kankakee location.
“I can give up a little bit of my time knowing I did everything I could to help someone else’s life,” says Redman, who has worked for CSL for nearly four years and has seen first-hand how the work he does helps patients.
Prior to the pandemic, patients with rare diseases would visit the manufacturing site to share how their quality of life had improved because of CSL and the work Redman and his colleagues do on the front lines.
“When you hear from patients, it really hits close to home,” he says.
Bernadine Koziara, Vice President
North America Commercial Operations
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
In her role with North America Commercial Operations, Bernadine Koziara works with a variety of patient organizations. Donating plasma has become one more way to feel connected to the patients that CSL serves.
“Over the last 15 years, my roles at CSL allowed me the opportunity to meet many patients with rare diseases,” Koziara says. “When a patient has the right therapy and care, their lives are transformed.”
Koziara says she began donating once a month after the pandemic began as a way to help support plasma collection to provide plasma products to patients.“It’s been a great experience spending time at our collection centers,” she says. “Our plasma center colleagues are front line workers and they work hard to provide a safe experience for all donors.”
Terry Young, Center Manager
For some CSL colleagues, joining the company leads to becoming a plasma donor. But in Terry Young’s case, it was the other way around. He was donor at a CSL Plasma Center and mentioned to the manager that he had been an Army medic for 12 years. The conversation led him to join CSL Plasma as a phlebotomist.
“The rest is history,” says Young, who has worked for the company for more than 20 years in roles of increasing responsibility and now serves as Center Manager at CSL Plasma in Tempe, Arizona. When talking to donors, Young, who donates four to six times a month, is sure to tell them the impact their donation has on helping patients.
“It might not seem like it at the time, but what you are doing is so much bigger to patients than it is to you and that’s a pretty cool feeling.”
He speaks from personal experience. Young said he is especially grateful because a plasma-based medicine helped his wife have a healthy pregnancy. Their son, Jordan, is now 5.“I will forever be grateful for what CSL does in this world and I am so proud to say I work for this great company,” Young says.