BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (FOX 9) - A Bloomington, Minnesota couple who contracted and beat COVID-19 in March are now among those donating blood plasma in hopes of helping researchers develop a treatment.
"It felt like an alien had taken over my body," said John Allen. "I don’t get sick. It was unprecedented for sure."
John Allen and his wife Kaari recall the illness coming out of nowhere and then hitting them like a ton of bricks at the end of March.
The couple had headaches, ice packs, and no energy to even get out of bed to use the bathroom.
"It was just going up to get the mail, I was really short of breath," John remembered. "I had a little moment there."
The couple recovered at their Bloomington home with presumed cases of COVID-19. It wasn’t until testing became more widely available that their suspicions were confirmed.
They had the virus and possessed the critical antibodies.
"When you see it on paper, it’s different, big red positive, you know?" said Kaari. "Here we are."
The Allens, an otherwise healthy and active couple in their 50s, quickly recognized they could help the medical and scientific communities.
They also hoped what’s known as their convalescent plasma just might save the lives of current coronavirus patients, given the new disease has no vaccine and no 100-percent safe and effective drug treatment that’s been approved.
Earlier this week, they traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester to give their first round of plasma with plans for more in the weeks ahead with researchers tracking the results.
"I would say, it’s not about us," said Kaari. "It’s about the greater good for sure."
"We’re glad that at least our misery right now, we’re strong enough and we can also help because I don’t want anyone else to get this, especially if they’re vulnerable," she added. "I don’t want you. It’s really scary because we don’t know enough."
Kaari and John head back to Mayo in about a month to monitor their antibodies and give additional plasma. They insist they are in this for the long haul and just want to help during this unprecedented disease battle.