After recovering from coronavirus, a plasma donor meets his recipient

"You just want to help them if you can," donor David Herrmann said.

April 28, 2020, 2:26 PM

Amidst the helplessness many are feeling as the coronavirus keeps people indoors and businesses shuttered, one man found that his own battle with the virus is giving him the ability to help others affected by the crisis.

David Herrmann did not hesitate when he found out that once he recovered from the virus, he could donate his convalescent plasma to potentially help those who are sick. So far, he has donated his plasma five times at the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center in San Antonio, and he plans to continue donating as much as he can.

"You feel helpless, and you see people who are really sick. And there's no cure for this, there's no vaccine, and you know all they have is the ventilator," Herrmann told ABC News in an exclusive interview. "You just want to help them if you can."

South Texas Blood and Tissue Center COO Elizabeth Waltman says that plasma donations are making a real-time impact on patients.

"If you are someone who is recovering from COVID-19, just understand that your plasma is being given to someone who is in the most critical of situations, and their life truly is dependent on your ability to help," she said.

And with the help of the Blood and Tissue center, Herrmann finally had the chance to meet one of his recipients, Jimmie Hayden.

ABC News first learned of Hayden's case in an interview in early April with Ashley, his wife of 26 years. Ashley told ABC News then that Hayden, her high school sweetheart, was still on a ventilator, and showed no signs of improving until he received the plasma.

Now Hayden is off the ventilator and home recovering with his wife and kids.

On Monday, Hayden and Herrmann were able to finally meet via video chat.

Convalescent plasma donor David Herrmann, right, meets one of the recipients of his plasma, Jimmie Hayden, via video chat.
ABC News

"It's overwhelming for sure to say the least, and there just aren't enough thank yous in the world to tell you what your donation has done for me and my family," Hayden told Hermann. "When I look at my wife, I look at my kids, you come to mind. I'm just so extremely blessed and humbled and my life's forever changed."

Both Hayden and Hermann say they hope sharing their story will encourage others who have recovered from the virus to look into donating their plasma too.

Hayden said he believes "plasma made all the difference in the world" for his recovery, and he is looking forward to being able to donate himself one day.

"When I can do it, I'll be the first one in line," he told ABC News.

As for Ashley, her message to Herrmann was simple: "You're our hero."

What to know about the coronavirus:

Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

Related Topics