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BRAVE BELINDA: Hemel Hempstead resident donates plasma after COVID-19 nightmare

 Published on: 11th November 2020   |   By: Lizzie Ellis   |   Category: Uncategorized

A selfless Hemel Hempstead resident is encouraging those with COVID-19 antibodies to donate plasma to help treat coronavirus patients.

Belinda Sampat, 63, of Warners End, regularly donates plasma at the Luton Blood Donor Centre as she has retained high levels of antibodies after suffering badly with COVID-19 while abroad in St Lucia in March.

Now she’s turned her negative experience around by donating plasma to help others.

Belinda told HemelNews: “I had a terrible experience with COVID-19 – I was the first case in St Lucia, so I was put into a makeshift hospital.

“I went into the four-bedded ward and was the only person in there. I was extremely ill and I and was alone. I am asthmatic, so I was very worried. I am a nurse myself, having qualified in Zimbabwe many years ago and had seen nothing like this before.

“When I eventually got back to the UK, I was traumatised by my experience and wanted to do something to help others, so enquired about donating plasma. I have retained high levels of positive antibodies, so have been able to provide double donations.

“I have found that giving plasma helps relieve the pressure and gloom I feel from my own experiences and lessen the mental scars.”

Belinda has donated plasma six times and hopes to continue as long as her antibodies remain high. She has received hundreds of messages of support on social media from residents who have thanked her for her efforts in helping those in need.

Belinda explained: “The process takes 35-40 minutes; they draw blood through a machine and pump it back in a continuous action. When I first started, the machines around me were full of donors – now, I am sometimes the only one.

“If I encourage just one person to donate or even check their eligibility: it would be worth it. If you meet the requirements, please consider helping.”

To register your interest or find out more about donating plasma, visit the NHS Plasma Donation Page.

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