ARCHIVED  September 20, 2002

College students, others sell plasma for extra cash

FORT COLLINS — An amazing phenomenon is occurring near the campus of Colorado State University: College students are turning plasma into pizza.

Jeremy Guffey is an active participant in the transformation. The CSU senior sells his plasma four to eight times a month to buy pizza and other college necessities.

“It’s a relatively easy way to make some extra money,” Guffey said.

Guffey uses the money he earns to buy gas for his car and pay for groceries. The $20 he pockets each time he donates quickly adds up to a monthly income of $160. And Guffey is not the only student taking advantage of the proximity of the center to campus.

Flocking in to donate

“We’re a college center,” ZLB Plasma Services Center Manager Layla Borgens said. “During the summer, when classes aren’t in session, our numbers drop. During the summer we see approximately 140 people a day. When school is in session, our numbers increase to 150 to 190 per day.”

The Fort Collins center is located at 1228 W. Elizabeth St., about one block west of campus.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based ZLB Plasma Services owns 47 collection centers in 22 states throughout the United States.

ZLB is not the only plasma collection center in Fort Collins. The new Garth Englund Blood Center, Poudre Valley Hospital’s blood donation center, opened Sept. 9 at 1025 Pennock Place. Tonya Winder, laboratory technical supervisor, said the new center collects whole blood and centrifuges it to separate the plasma.

“We do not pay our donors for plasma,” Winder said. “We collect whole blood and separate the cells from the plasma. We then freeze it and use the fresh-frozen plasma for burn victims and surgery patients.”

Plasma sold to treat injured

The hospitals and the pay-per-donation centers also collect plasma from donors and sell it to companies that manufacture immunizations for tetanus, small pox, chicken pox and hepatitis B. The albumin in the plasma is used in the treatment of shock, trauma, surgery and burns.

The plasma is extracted through a process known as plasmapheresis. Plasma is the fluid portion of blood that is composed of vital proteins, clotting factors and water. The plasma is collected by drawing blood from the donor’s arm and separated into blood components and plasma by a centrifuge. The blood components are returned to the donor.

Plasma donation takes 45 minutes to one hour to complete. The human body will replace donated plasma within 24 hours. But donors must wait at least one day to donate again and can only donate twice a week.

To prevent donors from “overdonating” the plasma centers have a tamper-proof way to track donations.

Every plasma center in the area has a certain fingernail they mark with florescent dye. Before people can donate, they have to run their fingers under a black light.

“We are looking at the cuticle especially to check for dye. The dye is harmless and wears off in a couple of days,´ said Borgens.

ZLB Plasma Services also owns a donation center at 3505 11th Ave. in Evans.

Donations tracked

Sheri Sutton, manager of the Evans location, said ZLB’s computer system is designed to track donations.

“We have a computer system at all 47 centers throughout the U.S.,” Sutton said. “You can move between centers, but you can only donate at one center at a time. When you change centers, the file is frozen at the old center.”

Traffic at the Evans location is slightly lower than at the Fort Collins location. The Greeley-area center sees between 100 and 130 people per day.

Sutton said most people have two reasons to donate plasma at one of the centers.

“I think the reasons people donate are two-fold: They like the extra money and they like helping somebody. A lot of children are helped by plasma donations because the proteins in plasma can’t be synthesized.”

Eric Sherman of Fort Collins is one who decided to donate to help those in need.

“I decided three days ago to donate because a buddy of mine was diagnosed with leukemia. I know I can’t specify who my plasma goes to, but I like knowing I am adding to the bank.”

FORT COLLINS — An amazing phenomenon is occurring near the campus of Colorado State University: College students are turning plasma into pizza.

Jeremy Guffey is an active participant in the transformation. The CSU senior sells his plasma four to eight times a month to buy pizza and other college necessities.

“It’s a relatively easy way to make some extra money,” Guffey said.

Guffey uses the money he earns to buy gas for his car and pay for groceries. The $20 he pockets each time he donates quickly adds up to a monthly income of $160. And Guffey is not the only student…

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