Rolling and Doing Good Through the Pandemic
Three years ago, the Kanner family connected with Norte. Martin, who was then 10, wanted to go mountain biking. His mother Virginie signed him up in a Norte program, and he has been rolling ever since. During the last two months, Martin has been unable to ride with friends due to the pandemic. As a result, the family has been hitting the hills together.
“He rides all the trails and hills,” said Martin’s father, William. He added, “I usually wait at the bottom for him. It’s amazing to see what he can do.”
It’s also amazing what Dr. William Kanner has been doing these past two months. Kanner is a physician at Munson Healthcare and serves as their Pathology Section Chief and Blood Bank Director. One of his primary responsibilities is to ensure that the supply of blood meets current demand.
“Today, we are getting critically low on blood because it’s hard to donate due to the COVID-19,” he said. “The early, adequate supply of blood has now dwindled due to increased demand, so we are once again in critical need.”
Munson Healthcare works with Versiti to source blood, and supply is only there when people donate. “A big thank you to everyone who has been able to give and spread the word about blood donation,” said Kanner. “Given the pandemic, blood donation is more important than ever.”
TOWARDS A COVID-19 TREATMENT
In addition to managing blood supplies, Kanner is Munson’s principal investigator in an emergency drug trial to treat COVID-19 patients. The trial is a collaboration of 2,277 sites across the nation and over 6,000 physicians, including Kanner. They’re testing the efficacy of using convalescent plasma from COVID-19 survivors to treat those severely affected by the virus.
“This is interesting because if somebody has been sick with COVID-19 and recovered, the idea is that they will produce antibodies. If we take their plasma and transfuse it to someone else, the hope is that those antibodies will help fight the virus and heal the patient,” said Kanner. It will provide medical professionals with a relatively easy, safe, and promising treatment if it works.
Sourcing convalescent plasma relies on blood donations from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. “If you have recovered from COVID-19, please consider being evaluated to donate your plasma. If you know someone who has recovered, let them know about the program,” asked Kanner.
Munson Healthcare, regional health departments, and Versiti are working together to find eligible plasma donors. To be eligible, donors must:
- Have had a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 by laboratory testing, or
- If it wasn’t a confirmed diagnosis, but antibody testing is positive, a donor may still be eligible.
- Be symptom-free for the last 14 days.
Kanner is grateful that his family has been healthy and that he has been able to work on something positive throughout the pandemic. “It’s rewarding being able to offer something to treat people, something the community can participate in that is positive. It’s also great to connect with Norte to do something positive in the community,” said Kanner.
Whether it’s supporting their son’s passion for the trails or serving the community, the Kanners epitomize happy, healthy, and strong. Keep rolling team–thank you.
To make a blood donation, you can learn more at Versiti’s website or by contacting them at 231- 935-3030. Please be patient as they are working hard to meet demand and be safe in the current situation.
To find out if you are eligible to donate convalescent plasma, please contact Versiti at MICplasma@versiti.org or 616-233-8634. You can learn more about the trial, visit the Mayo Clinic’s trail website at uscovidplasma.org.
We ask everyone to help us spread the word about the need for blood and plasma donations. Let’s continue to stay healthy and stay active, responsibly.