Fresh out of an Infinity Fitness gym class, you would never know the battle Kristina Gregory fought just a few months ago.
Gregory got sick March 15 with COVID-19, one of the first coronavirus cases in Connecticut.
She isolated herself in a bedroom away from her husband and kids. She had no energy and a debilitating headache, but she was able to recuperate out of the hospital at home in Darien. Feeling lucky to have recovered, she wanted to make sure others would recover, too.
“I would get sick again if it meant I could get double the antibodies and knew I could donate them,” said Gregory.
She finally tested negative during the height of the pandemic in the tri-state area.
“It was apparent that people were sick and they were trying to figure this out in real time, that plasma and antibodies seemed to be helpful,” said Gregory. “So I was like, ‘Let’s do this. I want to help as many people as I can.’”
Gregory got her antibodies test at Mount Sinai and then donated her first round of plasma through Nuvance Health. When they reached the limit for plasma they could store, she headed to Mount Sinai for four hours of tests so she could donate again.
“I donated the first time on Aug. 17 with them and that was a whole battery of weight, cognitive, skin check [tests],” said Gregory.
She donated once more in August and will go back in September.
“They are pooling all types of blood types, mixing all the plasma and taking the strongest strain of antibodies to make a vaccine,” said Gregory.
The FDA has issued an emergency-use authorization for plasma to help treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients. It is being investigated as a COVID-19 treatment because there is no approved treatment for the disease.
Gregory has returned to her job as an insurance agent at Brown Thayer Shedd in Darien and is preparing her kids for a return to school. She says her biggest fear isn’t that they’ll get COVID-19 but that they’ll pass the virus on to someone who wasn’t as lucky as she was.