South Carolina's first convalescent plasma patient, Lisa Hardin, met her donor for the first time today.
Hardin was diagnosed with COVID-19 on April 7th.
Her case progressed rapidly, and she was hospitalized three days later on Good Friday.
Hardin herself is a nurse in Columbia and was aware of the struggles with coronavirus.
She felt herself giving out slowly until she received convalescent plasma treatment.
The plasma donation was a collaboration between the Blood Connection and Blood Assurance, as a part of a national trial through the Mayo Clinic.
Convalescent plasma treatment uses the plasma of a donor who has already recovered from COVID-19.
Their antibodies then help fight COVID-19 in a patient who receives the donation.
Hardin's donor was Harriett Whitaker of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Whitaker's husband came down with COVID-19 and was able to recover at home.
Whitaker tested positive for COVID-19 but has remained asymptomatic and has donated plasma multiple times.
After receiving plasma Whitaker donated, Hardin made a rapid recovery.
Divya Ahuja, MD, is a specialist in infectious diseases at Prisma Health and clinical associate professor of Internal Medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia.
Dr. Ahuja, who was working on Hardin's case, said her recovery was astounding to see.
Helmut Albrecht, MD, a specialist in infectious diseases at Prisma Health and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia, said the treatment has had profound effects on other patients as well.
Whitaker encouraged all recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma.
"It's really not that difficult, and it could save so many lives," Whitaker said.
Hardin and her family expressed their gratitude to Whitaker.
Hardin says Whitaker's donation not only saved her life but healed her in time to see her daughter graduate college.
Hardin hopes to donate plasma herself as soon as possible.