Lee Montgomery doesn’t like to be idle. Yet, after 40 years operating his own ceramics manufacturing business with his wife, often working 70 hours a week, retirement sounded good. They moved from California to Idaho to be closer to grandkids but found they had excess time on their hands and retirement lost its charm. So both found jobs and returned to the workforce.
Then COVID-19 struck.
Lee “celebrated” his 82 birthday in a local hospital with both the COVID-19 virus and pneumonia. But he recovered, and soon the Montgomerys had another celebratory event. They made the last payment on their house, and Lee decided he would try retirement again.
Staying at home and relaxing still did not suit him, so he decided to find a place to volunteer and put his time and energy to use. He found a position that pleased him — volunteering as a medical screener at Red Cross blood drives. He had given blood frequently while living in California and knew the good that donations could do. Now he works at putting people at ease and helping them sign in as they arrive to make their own gifts of blood.
He likes his volunteer work, and the Red Cross likes him. He is a welcome and familiar face at drives conducted all over Boise, and he enjoys the camaraderie he feels when he’s there helping. And he helps a lot — three to four times weekly.
When Lee heard about the convalescent plasma program designed to help seriously ill COVID-19 patients, he knew he wanted to be part of it. The convalescent plasma program involves providing antibody-rich plasma of those fully recovered from the disease to currently hospitalized patients.
Lee figured he was a perfect candidate and signed up to donate.
“If my pint of plasma will help another, they are welcome to it,” he said. “We have got to try everything we can to get ahead of this thing.”
Lee plans to donate again very soon. Donating plasma doesn’t take much longer than donating blood.
“Just come in and relax and let the machine do the work,” Lee advises.
Those who have recovered from COVID-19 are eligible to donate convalescent plasma. Sign up to donate by visiting https://rcblood.org/3qPEzDz.
To be eligible to give, convalescent plasma an individual must be:
- In good health and generally feel well.
- Have a prior, verified diagnosis of COVID-19, but are now symptom-free and fully recovered from COVID-19 and at least 14 days from the last date of symptoms.