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West Rogers Park Man Who Had COVID-19 And Recovered Now Hopes To Donate Antibodies

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Horrible – that is how one Chicago man recalls his battle with COVID-19.

But now that he is recovered, there is a huge push to use his struggle for good.

CBS 2's Steven Graves reported Sunday about what Ira Piltz is doing to help others in the fight against the coronavirus.

Piltz closed his eyes and winced as it happened. But a small prick of a needle paled in comparison to what he has been through with coronavirus.

"Having COVID is horrible," Piltz said. "I lost a month of my life.

The father of six said the symptoms caused immeasurable pain. Thankfully, he has been cleared of the virus for weeks.

"There were conversations I had with people who called to check in on me while I was sick that I honestly don't remember having," Piltz said.

It is a struggle that Piltz does not want to see anyone go through. So he is giving blood for an antibody test.

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The hope is that Piltz will be able to donate convalescent plasma. Medical experts say that could then help other seriously ill patients fight the virus.

"This thing's hitting every ethnic community that lives in close proximity," he said.

Piltz, of West Rogers Park, said COVID-19 particularly hit Chicago's Orthodox Jewish community hard.

"We all live in a close physical proximity to each other and we're very involved in each other's lives," he said.

It led to three organizations teaming up with NorthShore Hospitals for a blood testing event. More than 100 people showed up for the event in the parking lot of the Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary School, 3200 W. Peterson Ave.

It is especially important as researchers tackle the effectiveness of the antibody tests.

"What's helping me regain that footing and regain that balance is the fact that I can do something to help other people," Piltz said.

And that is all during a time when the world tries to beat this new virus.

Plasma donors have to be diagnosed with COVID-19 and symptom-free.

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