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Donate Plasma to Save Lives this Summer

Donate Plasma to Save Lives this Summer

Plasma donations help people like Machelle Pecoraro live full, productive lives.

(StatePoint) Plasma donation is an impactful, meaningful way to give back to your community this summer. By donating plasma, you can help people like Machelle Pecoraro.

Pecoraro lives with Hereditary Angioedema (HAE), a rare disease that can cause attacks of swelling, and often pain, in specific parts of the body, including the stomach, hands, feet, arms, legs, genitals, throat and face. Like with many serious and rare diseases, the therapies used to treat HAE require human plasma donations.

Donors’ Impact

“Plasma donors directly impact my ability to live a full and productive life. Therapies made from these donations allow me and my son, who also lives with HAE, to receive ongoing treatment for our conditions,” says Pecoraro.

Plasma, a straw-colored liquid that carries red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, helps to maintain a steady level of blood pressure, supports the immune system and delivers critical nutrients to cells.

Plasma donations are used to replace crucial proteins people living with rare and serious diseases lack, and to produce therapies that treat diseases such as primary immune deficiencies, hereditary angioedema, hemophilia, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin deficiency and various bleeding and neurological disorders.

There is a critical and ongoing need for plasma donations, as these life-saving medicines treat people in more than 100 countries around the world. Every year, it takes more than 1,200 plasma donations to treat one hemophilia patient, more than 900 plasma donations to treat one alpha-1 patient and more than 130 plasma donations to treat one primary immune deficiency patient.

“Plasma donors do the amazing, as plasma is used to develop life-saving therapies for people living with rare and serious diseases. We encourage those who can donate to visit a nearby CSL Plasma donation center,” says Rachpal Malhotra, MD, head of plasma donor safety, CSL Plasma.

Eligible, qualified plasma donors also receive payments in connection with donating plasma.

The Donation Process

To donate, you must be in good health, between the ages of 18-74, weigh at least 110 pounds, and have had no tattoos or piercings within the last four months. You must also meet the health and screening requirements and have valid identification with a permanent address.

Although wait times may vary at each location, the collection process takes approximately 90 minutes after the first donation.

It is recommended that you drink four to six 8-ounce glasses of water, fruit juice or other caffeine-free liquid at least two to three hours before donation, avoid caffeinated beverages, avoid alcohol of any type for 24 hours beforehand, eat a meal prior to donation and get adequate sleep.

CSL Plasma has 320 plasma donation centers across the United States.

Visit for more information and to find a center near you. The CSL Plasma donor app is also available for Apple and Android device users.

“I thank all donors and encourage anyone who is considering donating to remember that doing so does make an impact for people like me and my son,” says Pecoraro.

Photo Credit: (c) CSL Plasma


World Hypoparathyroidism Awareness Day: How an advocacy organization is encouraging change to improve the lives of patients and caregivers

World Hypoparathyroidism Awareness Day: How an advocacy organization is encouraging change to improve the lives of patients and caregivers

(BPT) - This June, the HypoPARAthyroidism Association, Inc. (HPA) is intent on making its mark within the rare disease community. In honor of World Hypoparathyroidism Awareness Day, an annual global awareness and education event observed on June 1, the nonprofit patient advocacy organization invites patients, caregivers and advocates to participate in a series of online events to raise awareness of a rare disorder that affects an estimated 77,000 to 115,000 people in the U.S. alone.

Hypoparathyroidism is a rare endocrine disorder characterized by deficient or absent parathyroid hormone (PTH) that causes lower than normal levels of calcium in the blood. PTH, which is produced by the parathyroid glands located in the neck, helps to regulate serum calcium levels in the body. It most commonly results from damage to or accidental removal of the parathyroid glands during thyroid surgery but may also be inherited or associated with other disorders.

Hypoparathyroidism can lead to a range of serious physical health complications, such as seizures, heart arrhythmias and kidney damage, and can also cause anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. As a result of these complications, patients living with hypoparathyroidism often experience a decreased quality of life.

For this year’s World Hypoparathyroidism Awareness Day, the HypoPARAthyroidism Association is hosting a Facebook Live on June 1 at 7 p.m. EST to touch on the disease prevalence, common patient diagnosis symptoms and experiences, and the need for treatment options.

The discussion will feature two leading endocrinologists in the hypoparathyroidism field, along with a patient who has been living with the disorder for over 20 years. The HPA hopes that audiences will take away an understanding of the quality-of-life impacts and emotional burden this disorder has on patients, and the urgent demand for new treatment care pathways.

As current available treatments for hypoparathyroidism — which include calcium and vitamin D supplements — only address the symptoms and not the underlying cause of the disease itself, the need for a shift to medications in the treatment paradigm is crucial.

Fortunately, there are hormone replacement medication therapies currently in development to restore normal PTH levels, with one being reviewed by the FDA. Approval of these treatments is essential to provide a safety net of options so that patients can better manage their disease and improve their quality of life.

To further broaden awareness beyond June 1, the HypoPARAthyroidism Association is excited to continue to host a series of webinars throughout June in recognition of their own hypoparathyroidism awareness month — featuring key health care professionals and company representatives to speak on a variety of relevant topics and therapy options on the horizon.

Reaching audiences through these online platforms helps the HPA to serve their mission to educate patients, physicians and the public about hypoparathyroidism, so that more research into finding new treatment options may be possible.

To learn more, visit or


Savor and save: 5 benefits of growing your own produce

Savor and save: 5 benefits of growing your own produce

(BPT) - If you appreciate the taste and experience of fresh produce, it may be time to consider cultivating your own home garden. Whether you have a spacious backyard or a small balcony, you can grow your own fruits and vegetables and enjoy unparalleled taste, texture and freshness without driving to the grocery store.

Ferry-Morse — one of the largest U.S. gardening brands — wants to set home gardeners up for success by highlighting the top five benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables.

1. Freshness that can't be beat

Produce can't get fresher than what you grow and pick in your own backyard! Grocery store produce is chosen for its hardiness because it has to endure long journeys and handling before it reaches the store, where it may sit on display for days. On the other hand, when you grow your own fruits, vegetables and herbs, you control the harvest, so you can pick them at the peak ripeness and enjoy that fresh-off-the-vine taste.

2. Nutritious and delicious

Homegrown fruits and vegetables are also more nutritious than their store-bought counterparts. That's because crops begin to deteriorate as soon as they're picked. The farther it needs to travel, the more nutritional content is lost. At home, you can harvest your fresh ingredients as needed, ensuring your meal is made with the crispest and most nutritious produce possible.

3. Boosted taste and flavor

If you did a side-by-side taste test of a homegrown tomato compared to a store-bought one, chances are you'll notice the one from your backyard tastes better and is more flavorful. You'll enjoy a bolder flavor when fruit and vegetables are allowed to fully ripen on the vine. Homegrown produce allows you to experience a crop's true essence and provides a culinary experience that is sure to delight your senses.

4. A feast that won't empty your wallet

By growing your own, you'll save quite a bit of money. While there are initial expenses when setting up your garden for the first time, according to Better Homes & Gardens, the average home garden yields $677 worth of produce. Once you set up a garden, you'll have the necessary tools to nurture it season after season, creating a self-sustaining food cycle.

Making the initial investment in live plants and seeds will benefit you in the long run, as you won't have to spend your dollars on store-bought produce that can rise in cost throughout the seasons. To get started, find a reputable brand like Ferry-Morse that delivers live baby Plantlings directly from their nursery to your door. For first-time gardeners, check out their Garden Starter Kits, which include 12 baby plants to get your garden going. There are over 40 kits to choose from, covering a wide range of culinary and floral themes to fit your taste and lifestyle preferences.

5. Connect with nature and reap the rewards

Gardening is a fantastic stress reliever that allows you to connect with nature and discover the joy of maintaining your own little patch of Eden. You can escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, get your hands dirty and watch your plants grow into robust crops. Take in the soothing sights, sounds and scents of your home garden and reap the benefits.

Planting and nurturing a garden is easier than you think and offers so many benefits to your palate, wallet and well-being. So grab your gardening gloves and spade and start your journey to a rewarding and nurturing harvest.

Try a homegrown meal for yourself

One of the many joys of summer is fresh, sweet corn on the cob, and growing it yourself makes it even more enjoyable! While always delicious steamed or boiled, cooking your homegrown corn on the grill can give it a charred flavor that will complement your favorite barbecued meals.

For an easy recipe, start by prepping basil butter by adding chopped basil, garlic and a bit of sea salt to your butter in a food processor, pulsing to combine. Lightly brush your corn with olive oil and sprinkle salt to taste, placing the corn on your grill once it's hot. Rotate your corn using tongs every couple of minutes until the kernels are blistered and bright yellow. Once your corn is ready, spread a generous amount of your basil butter on each piece and enjoy!

Visit for everything you need to get started, plus tips and resources to help you enjoy your garden more than ever this year.