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Coronavirus New Jersey: COVID-19 Survivor Whose Donated Plasma Saved Aunt, Stranger Encouraging Others To Undergo 'Easy, Painless Process'

VOORHEES, N.J. (CBS) -- A South Jersey woman recovered from COVID-19 and then saved the lives of her aunt and a stranger. This week, more centers are opening up for survivors to donate and save people they may not even know.

"The American Red Cross will be opening two convalescent plasma collection sites in North Jersey on Monday," Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Those who have survived COVID-19 can now help others in the fight against the coronavirus.

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Survivors can donate their plasma at the American Red Cross Blood Center in Fairfield or at University Hospital in Newark.

"The plasma from recovered patients contains antibodies that may help others in their own fight against the virus," Murphy said.

"I started to have symptoms around March 11. I started out with a fever and some sweats and chills," plasma donor Marisa Leuzzi said.

The South Jersey resident won her fight against COVID-19 and she even helped her aunt who was clinging to life at Virtua Voorhees Hospital due to COVID-19 complications.

"I was completely honored that I could have something to really save not only her life, but a complete stranger's as well," Leuzzi said.

As a survivor, she was able to donate convalescent plasma to her aunt and to another patient. Both are now recovering at home.


Leuzzi is hoping other survivors will follow in her footsteps.

"It's a quick and easy, painless process. The only thing you feel is a little pinch of the needle, which I'm sure we've all felt at one point getting the flu shot or something like that," she said.

Leuzzi says the donation process is similar to donating blood and took about an hour to complete.

She says she is eligible to donate again after 28 days and has an appointment to donate again on May 20.

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