PHOENIX — Professional basketball is on hold due to COVID-19. One WNBA player knows the dangers of the virus firsthand.
Los Angeles Sparks star, and Valley native, Sydney Wiese contracted coronavirus while playing in Spain. Now she's using her recovery to help fight it.
"I just thought I was exhausted from traveling so much and the stress of everything that was going on, and so I didn't think that I had the virus, but losing my smell and my taste was random."
Wiese had been playing professional basketball in Spain since October, and in February was traveling back and forth to the US quite a bit. One week before the travel ban she was told to come home - and it wasn't until after losing her smell and taste did she test positive for COVID-19.
"I have antibodies in my blood so my plasma is useful for research and for patients who are in need" she said during a recent donation.
Vitalant is partnering with the Mayo Clinic in the research. The antibodies in blood of people who have had COVID may give patients fighting the virus an extra boost.
"It is proving to be something that may have real, real promise for people who are in a serious condition because of COVID-19" said Brad Daughtry, a marketing manager for Vitalant.
Daughtry says the basic requirements of the program are simple: you have had the virus and have a test that verifies it, you've been asymptomatic for 14 days, and you are eligible under all of the other FDA requirements for giving blood.
"This is truly the least that I can do, to give my plasma. The people on the front lines, the medical workers, I mean, these people in here, these are the ones who are the true heroes."