DAYTON — Clayton donor Pat Mathes has been giving blood for more than 25 years. It was no surprise to make his 200th lifetime donation Feb. 28 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.
But he never expected to reach the milestone with his seventh donation of COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma.
“I have never been one to go after and look for recognition on the gifts that God has given me to help others,” he said. “Whether it is performing at church, on the stage or donating my time, blood, platelets, and now Convalescent Plasma, there is a higher power that put me here to do so.”
Mathes made more than 100 whole blood donations before becoming a regular platelet and plasma donor in 2013. He continued his routine throughout the pandemic, making 15 donations in 2020, including his first two CCP donations after recovering from COVID-19.
“My wife Dee tested positive in December,” he said. “I never had symptoms, just a bad cough that seemed like allergies. I get them in the spring and fall and don’t think anything of it.”
Dee was seriously ill, and Pat had lost his job in the abrasives industry during the economic downturn. He made a platelet donation the day after Thanksgiving and learned that he was positive for COVID-19 antibodies. He made his first CCP donation a few days before Christmas and began giving convalescent plasma every two weeks.
“The silver lining about work was that I could donate and take care of my wife,” he said.
When he made his milestone 200th donation he was also celebrating his new position as a program manager at Projects Unlimited
He was inspired to donate CCP just as he felt a calling to give platelets.
“I was told that people who are receiving treatments for cancer received these platelets,” Mathes said. “Ironically, my wife had a son who died of Leukemia in 1988. I never knew Christopher. My wife was in the Marine Corps and he was just five years old. So, to me, donating platelets is something that I feel I am paying forward for him.”
He’s an advocate for platelet donations, and now convalescent plasma.
“I wear my platelet T-shirts around,” he said. “I was at the Rite Aid and a woman walked over and said, ‘I saw you give platelets – thank you!’ She was a cancer survivor.”
“Now, finding out I can help those people and families who are suffering with the COVID-19 pandemic, makes it all worthwhile. God blessed me with good health. I am happy to be able to share this blessing.”