Plasma donation is in Kodey’s blood

Growing up, 18 year old Auckland teenager Kodey was a regular visitor at the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) Epsom Donor Centre.

Feeling at home amongst the blood donors, nurses and much appreciated biscuit station, Kodey sat with his father and grandparents while they donated plasma. He always knew that one day he would follow in their footsteps and become a plasma donor himself; some might say it was in his blood.

Making his first whole blood donation in 2014, Kodey was stoked to discover he met the criteria for plasma donation, he just needed to wait until he turned 18. He wasted no time and completed his first plasma donation six months after his 18th birthday. Helping his family to achieve over 780 plasma donations!

Often dubbed ‘liquid gold’ for its yellow colour, plasma carries blood cells around the body. It is used to treat people who have lost a lot of blood from either accident or trauma, and for those who have suffered severe bleeding during surgery.

Kodey’s grandmother, Annette, whom he describes as the “matriarch” of the family, proudly holds the title of top female plasma donor for NZBS. With over 350 donations to her name, Annette or ‘Nan’ is the driving force behind the family’s incredible donation record.

“There is no arguing with Nan,” he laughs. “She insists that we all go along to donate and help out such a good cause.”

The rest of the family are not to be outshone, with Kodey’s grandfather Keith (243 donations), his father Grant (101 donations) and Uncle Mark (92 donations) all racking up large donation records.

To become a plasma donor you need to already be a whole blood donor, meet other special requirements including meeting the height and weight criteria, and have suitable veins. Plasma is collected using an apheresis machine that removes the plasma from the blood before returning the red cells back to the donor using the same needle.

This process, Kodey says, is not that bad. “I am terrified of needles” admits Kodey. “I find not looking, and removing that visual aspect really helps. I try and take deep breaths, have lots to eat and drink and ask lots of questions.

“I was nervous to begin with, but everyone is so nice, the nurses really look after you and make you feel comfortable,” he says.

He talks with his friends a lot about his experience in the hope that they will feel inspired to donate plasma also. As for passing on the family legacy, Kodey insists that he will encourage his future children to donate too.

“You are helping people in need; I can’t see why you would need another incentive,” says Kodey.

To find out more about how you can donate plasma and have a heart of gold like Kodey and his family, click here or call 0800 448 325.

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