WOODLAND HILLS— LAPD police commander, Cory Palka, went to the Red Cross donation center in Woodland Hills on May 18 to donate plasma after recovering from COVID-19.

Palka tested positive for COVID-19 on March 19. He had symptoms such as a dry cough, shortness of breath, fever, significant fatigue, and had no sense of smell.

“I was sleeping twelve to fifteen hours a day since I was so exhausted,” said Palka.

After fully recovering from the illness, Palka went to the Red Cross to donate his plasma. He mentioned that as a child, his father often donated blood and tried to help others. Palka said his father is a good role model and has influenced him a lot.

“My father has a really rare blood type and he would donate blood once a month or more. He is a great guy and he cares so much about others,” said Palka.

“In times of crisis, the Red Cross is fortunate to witness the best of humanity as people roll up a sleeve to help those in need,” said Geri Ostil-Hernandez, local market manager of the Red Cross. “We greatly appreciate the generosity of blood donors like Commander Palka for taking the time to donate convalescent plasma to help treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.”

According to the Red Cross, convalescent plasma is plasma that is collected from patients who have recovered from infection and have antibodies that might help fight that infection. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Red Cross is now asking for patients who have fully recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma.

“I always donate blood, and the LAPD has a really strong relationship with the Red Cross,” Palka said that even before the pandemic, he and his colleagues have regularly donated blood and he likes how everyone comes together and gives back to the society.

Plasma is donated using an apheresis process, which means blood is drawn from one arm and sent through a high-tech machine that collects your plasma and then safely and comfortably returns your red cells and platelets back to you, along with some saline. Because this process uses a special apheresis machine, this donation only takes place at a Donation Center, according to the Red Cross.

If you are fully recovered from a new coronavirus infection and want to donate your plasma, you can check whether you meet the requirements, get more information about donation, and fill out the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Donor Eligibility Form on the Red Cross website. A Red Cross representative will follow up with prospective candidates to confirm eligibility.