By Ashley Cox

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– Freedom Plasma is expanding its service by opening a second location in St. Petersburg on May 24, 2022.

The new blood-plasma donation center compensates donors for their efforts and comes at a time when donations are needed to meet the worldwide demand.

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“Plasma is used to create many life-saving medicines and plasma-based treatments for those suffering from a myriad of diseases and chronic illnesses,” said Blair McKinney, Chief Operating Officer of ImmunoTek Bio Centers, one of the partner companies that designed, built, and will operate the center. Freedom Plasma has another Sunshine State location in Winter Haven, and currently operates centers in eleven other states with more locations in development.

Because of advances in patient medicines and treatments, the need for human plasma donations continues to rise. The U.S. provides two-thirds of the world’s plasma, and the new Florida center will help meet the ever-growing need. Plasma makes up more than half of a human’s blood volume; it is the protein-rich golden liquid portion of blood that remains after red and white blood cells are removed. This plasma is manufactured into medicines that patients depend on for their specific plasma-based therapy. To treat just one patient annually requires between 130 – 1,200 plasma donations from healthy donors. The community is invited to visit the center and learn more about the need for plasma donations.

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“The economic impact of an operating Freedom Plasma center is around $5 million annually,” said McKinney. “The community benefits from the construction of this new center, by receiving donor compensation for its members, and experiencing healthcare-oriented jobs; plus, our donors know they are helping save lives.”

Following an in-house screening along with a medical history and physical exam conducted by medical professionals, donors can roll up their sleeves and donate plasma much the same way as a blood donation. The donation procedure uses a safe, sterile, and self-contained automated process called plasmapheresis. Plasma can be donated up to twice in a seven-day period.

“Donating blood-plasma at a donation center like Freedom Plasma is truly a life-saving gift to those who depend on plasma-derived medicines to live each day. Not only is it used to create valuable therapies and vaccines, but recent research also shows promise with plasma-derived therapies reducing or limiting the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia,” said Jerome Parnell III, CEO of ImmunoTek. “Because of its unique biologic make-up, plasma cannot be made synthetically so we depend on donated plasma for creating plasma-based medicines to eventually benefit patients around the world.”

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Freedom Plasma’s St. Petersburg donation center is located at 5651 38th Avenue N and operates Tuesday – Saturday. Following the first week of operation, which is by appointment only, walk-in donors will be welcome. To make an appointment or learn more about plasma donation, contact Freedom Plasma at 316-201-3449 or visit Freedomplasma.com