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Florida woman who lost husband to coronavirus encourages survivors to donate plasma

OneBlood says surge in cases increased demand for convalescent plasma by 500%

Had COVID-19? Check. Donated plasma? Check. Saved lives? Check. Central Floridian Cecilia Lawton wears a checklist shirt and says she checks all the boxes.

"I've hit all three now. I think I've earned this shirt," said Lawton.

Lawton recovered from the coronavirus, but knows the heartbreak of losing a loved one to the virus. Her husband, Marvin Lawton lost his battle with the illness in April. He died less than an hour before the family found a convalescent plasma donor.

"It was frustrating to one degree, but it was heartbreaking. You never know for sure if it's going to make a difference. We were finally able to get the donor and he had passed away 45 minutes prior to that," said Lawton.

What’s even more heartbreaking is Lawton’s family friend, Michael Moore, is now fighting for his life on a ventilator with the virus. News 6 spoke with Moore’s wife, Nicole Mansini a few days ago. She said her husband was No. 274 on a waiting list for convalescent plasma treatment.

"It's important to advocate for your family member. To really connect with the people at the hospital and make it known that person is not just a body or a number, that it's someone's dad, son, family member," said Mansini.

Mansini gave an update on Moore's condition Thursday.

"His ventilator settings had to be turned up to 75% oxygen, and recently put back down to 70%. He's having rough experiences with blood clots, which is common for some COVID patients with severe symptoms," said Mansini.

Lawton says she was a match for Moore and planned to donate directly to him, but he ended up getting a plasma donation just before her appointment. On Thursday she showed up to OneBlood anyway, to donate in her husband, Marvin's honor.

Cecilia Lawton donates plasma at OneBlood on Thursday, July 16, 2020 in memory of her husband, Marvin Lawton, who died in April after his battle with coronavirus.
Cecilia Lawton donates plasma at OneBlood on Thursday, July 16, 2020 in memory of her husband, Marvin Lawton, who died in April after his battle with coronavirus. (WKMG 2020)

"This is part of my healing process as well because if I can know something that I'm doing could be helping other people to where they can go home to their families, it means the world to me," said Lawton.

With the surge of cases in Florida, OneBlood said there is a huge demand for convalescent plasma, with requests they just can’t meet right now. That’s why they are encouraging anyone who has recovered from the virus to donate plasma.

OneBlood says one convalescent plasma donation can help up to 3 patients and donations can go towards a specific patient. For more information on how to donate convalescent plasma, click here.


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