I make about $6,500 donating plasma over 100 times a year, but I don’t do it for the money

You can donate plasma more often than blood.Pavel Peskov/EyeEm/Getty Images

  • Patrick Herdener donates plasma twice a week, every week, and earns between $50 and $70 per donation.

  • That means he typically donates plasma 104 times a year and makes about $6,500 before taxes.

  • Herdener said he started donating for the money, but the spirit of being helpful drives him now.

This essay is based on a conversation with Patrick Herdener, who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and donates plasma twice a week. He receives between $50 and $70 per donation, which Insider has verified with documentation. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

To be honest, when I started donating plasma, the main motivation was money. I was in my early 20s, unemployed, and had rent to pay.

My best friend at the time told me about plasma donation, where I could make money by letting a machine filter plasma from my blood. Back then, I think the pay was around $30 per session. It was just enough to pay the bills, as he was single and had no family.

Now though, I’m much more serious about it. I go twice a week, usually on Wednesday and Friday, every week of the year.

These days, I go home with between $55 and $70 for each session. On Wednesdays they pay me $55 and on Fridays they pay me $70. That adds up to about $6,500 a year before taxes.

This is not my main income though. I mainly use it to buy birthday gifts for my wife and kids and Christmas gifts. And to replace parts on my mountain bike. I break a lot of pieces.

I started donating more often once I knew where my plasma was going. My plasma donation center, run by CSL Plasma, put up a sign listing the diseases and disorders that plasma can help treat, such as hemophilia or immune deficiency.

About two to three years ago they put up another sign. Each month, it shows a new photo of someone receiving treatment for one of these disorders. It’s actually nice – it makes it a little more personal.

Headshot of Patrick Herdener

Patrick Herdener has donated plasma twice a week for 13 years.Patrick Herdener

I’ve been donating twice a week for 13 years. The only time I took a break during that period was when the machine that filtered my blood broke during a session.

The bowl that held my blood was full and had just started to spin plasma, when it suddenly broke. I lost a bowl full of blood right away – not just my plasma but the red blood cells as well.

I was fine. I still went to work and then I biked back home. They even gave me a full payment as well.

But I had to wait 58 days to replace that blood I lost. You cannot donate if you are low on blood. It could send you to the emergency room if you tried.

Aside from that incident, my streak has been non-stop.

The nurses use an 18 gauge needle to draw my blood. There’s only one vein in my arm big enough for that size needle. That’s why I switch arms, so my scar tissue doesn’t get too thick. I also use a vitamin E gel to help my skin heal and reduce scarring.

The pain is usually not very severe. It depends on the person who is cheating on you. With some people, the pain is no worse than when you donate blood. With others, you feel nothing.

The process normally takes 49 to 55 minutes. On one lucky day, it only took me 35 minutes, but it was one of a kind. I can’t replicate it no matter what I change.

To help keep the process going fast, I stay away from most pork products and only eat cheese in moderation. These foods increase the fat content in my blood, which can clog the machine’s filter.

When the filter gets clogged, a process that normally takes me 49 minutes turns into 2 hours. In the end, my arm hurts from the elbow to the fingers.

I also drink a gallon of water daily. Staying hydrated is important so you don’t get dizzy.

I would encourage others to donate plasma if they can. It’s just an hour in your day and it really helps people. You might even find interesting conversation with other donors or nurses while you’re doing this.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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