Since becoming the first person to have a confirmed test of COVID-19 in Austin County, Sealy’s Amy Jett has become one of the biggest supporters of others going through the process and recently donated plasma to aid three infected people.
In a Monday afternoon interview, Jett said her original plan was to donate plasma to directly benefit one family after failing to get out of the gate with a couple of other prospective recipients. She said a phone conversation with the wife of an elderly man on a ventilator was when she knew this was the family she wanted to help.
“I had several people reach out to me and one particular family, the wife called me and just talking with her on the phone, listening to her cry,” Jett said, “she's an absolute warrior for her husband to try and do anything and everything she could to get him anything that could help him. I was very moved by that and I just said, ‘I'm going to do whatever I have to do.’”
Jett announced in an April 3 update that she was cleared to leave her room and be with the rest of her family, including her youngest son and daughter and husband, and after a two-week quarantine ended on April 17 she began the steps toward donating her plasma.
She still needed to jump through a couple of more hoops before actually getting set up to donate to the elderly man who she said had served the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for 40 years in her update from Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in downtown Houston Friday afternoon.
After another COVID-19 test confirmed she was negative, she had to take an HLA antibody test to ensure a safe transfer. Once those results came through, the blood bank set up an appointment and following a drive to downtown Houston, Jett was able to sit back and relax for an hour and a half as tubes took her blood, separated the plasma, and directed the clean blood back into her system.
Jett said she brought a magazine to keep her entertained but instead conversed with the technicians and staff on hand.
“They answered a lot of my questions,” Jett said of the staff who remained in the room while the plasma donation occurred. “They were very interested in knowing your story and how you got it and how your recovery was. I told them a lot about Austin County and how awesome it had been and that my sole reason for doing that was, of course, I wanted to be able to help someone else, but I wanted to be able to pay forward what my community had done for me.”
Jett said that she couldn’t even keep up with the outpouring of support in the heart of her battle with hot spells, shortness of breath and fatigue among other symptoms but she was grateful she could solely focus on getting better instead of how her family was going to get food.
“I had people that I don't even know, strangers from all over the county, reach out to me bring things,” Jett said. “Still just last week I had someone offering to do grocery shopping for us. We're very blessed to be where we are in this community. It was a huge help to get me through some of those really bad days; not having to worry about, ‘Are the kids eating? How's (my husband) going to get groceries, he
can't go anywhere?’ I didn't have to worry about any of those things. People delivered stuff, every day, all day, we had the things we needed, it was such a blessing.”
At the end of the day, Jett had plenty of time to reflect on herself and her situation and said she came out on the other side so grateful for everything.
“I learned a lot about myself,” Jett said. “Honestly, I feel like it was a good eye-opener to things that maybe I was too busy for, not taking the time for, not slowing down, not appreciating certain things. (I) definitely have stopped to smell the roses, as they say.”
Jett closed by saying anyone can donate their plasma, all they have to do is go through a blood bank like Red Cross or Gulf Coast Regional Center as she did, and you can schedule an appointment online. She said she learned you can donate as often as weekly and that each donation can help up to three people.