Plasma donors are being sought to help additional patients with coronavirus.

WESTFIELD, NJ — Her 75-year-old father with coronavirus may have some more time thanks to COVID-19 survivors who have offered up their plasma.

Lisa La Forte’s father, John La Forte, a former Westfield salon owner, is at JFK Medical Center in Edison where he is now on a ventilator, she said.

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Even before his coronavirus diagnosis, John La Forte had been enduring chemotherapy treatment for chronic lymphoma, leukemia and prostate cancer and on April 9, Lisa La Forte called an ambulance for to be taken to the hospital. At that time, he was experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, she said.

“It just seemed like this was it,” she said. “He had this, so he was admitted.”

Last Saturday, he tested positive for COVID-19, she said. When La Forte learned that her father could be a candidate for an experimental treatment involving plasma therapy, her friends helped her to issue a plea through Mayor Shelley Brindle for plasma donations from COVID-19 survivors.

Numerous people followed through with offers to donate plasma, La Forte said, and it appears that a dose of plasma was working for the former owner of Heads First and Salon 2000.

“Yesterday afternoon, he received his plasma,” La Forte said Thursday night. “It takes a few days. His vitals seem OK. He has a lot of his reflexes, which is good.” La Forte noted, however, that he remains in critical condition.

La Forte said COVID-19 survivors continue to reach out to her with offers to donate plasma, and she is encouraging people to do so in the hope that other patients can also be helped.

“All these people that wanted to help me, I want them to go and get it done so it can help someone else,” La Forte said.

People who had previously received a positive test result for COVID-19 but had no symptoms for 14 days and subsequently had a negative coronavirus test result, may email JFKplasma@hackensackmeridian.org.

La Forte is thankful for the support that she has received from residents during this time.

“If I didn’t have all these people emailing me, I would have lost my mind,” she said. “The town has [given] such support and especially the mayor.”

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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