SAN ANTONIO — The South Texas Blood & Tissue Center continues to run on dangerously low levels of plasma amid limited donations and rising requests from local hospitals amid the ongoing pandemic. To help shore up the supply, shipments are coming in daily from New York to help treat San Antonio's coronavirus patients.
Meanwhile, a local couple is doing all it can, donating just about every week to help save their neighbors.
Dina and Brian Murphy are both survivors of the virus. In March, Brian got sick not knowing he had been infected. Several days later, Dina wasn't doing so well herself.
"I started feeling better at the time she started feeling worse," Brian said. "I basically had to sleep with one eye open to make sure she didn't come down with any respiratory (issues). So I was listening to her breathing in the middle of the night."
Dina said that, despite being pretty healthy, she's experienced many symptoms.
"It does take a lot (out) of you," she said. "I was probably more sick than I have ever been."
After looking into donating convalescent plasma, which researchers have found to be effective in helping COVID-19 patients leave the hospital earlier, Brian got tested for antibodies. He discovered he had the virus first and had given it to his wife. Since April, Dina has donated plasma 12 times. Brian is right behind her, with seven donations, although no one's keeping score.
The number that really matters: 68, the amount of lives they say they've combined to help save.
"It is a very humbling experience that you can touch so many lives," Brian said.
Health experts have said convalescent plasma must come from coronavirus survivors, and only a few hundred of the thousands in Bexar County who have defeated COVID-19 have taken the time to donate.
There continues to be a desperate need. In fact, there is a shortage in San Antonio, and it's forcing the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center to seek help from outside the state.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg, meanwhile, is continuing to urge survivors to look into donating.
"I have had conversations with the blood and tissue center," he said. "It is (a) tremendous financial burden on them to import blood, but they are having to do it."
The Murphys are doing their part. Now they're encouraging the thousands of others who have recovered to donate as well.
"It is almost like your civic duty to help mankind," Brian said.
If you would like more information on donating, click here.