Give for Texans – Michael’s Story
Paying it forward after a life-threatening health crisis
Donor and COVID-19 survivor Michael Hoffman shares his story of hope and resilience
Michael Hoffman’s experience strikes a familiar chord for many donors.
“Having been a blood donor for more than 30 years, I never imagined that I would be on the receiving end,” he said.
But life, Michael noted, is unpredictable, and the unexpected struck in March 2020.
He was admitted to the intensive care unit of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas on March 17 with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. As it turned out, that day began a months-long ordeal for Michael as he fought one of the earliest and worst cases of COVID-19 in Dallas.
Michael’s condition began deteriorating, and he was placed on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma for 30 days.
Medical teams tried every treatment they could to aid his recovery. One of the treatments involved the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma, the part of the blood that contains antibodies from the coronavirus.
With no other medical processes or vaccines available at the time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave emergency authorization for convalescent plasma from individuals recovered from COVID-19.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, Carter BloodCare tested blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies to help donors determine if they were candidates for giving convalescent plasma for patients battling the virus.
“I have a far greater understanding and appreciation for our frontline workers and the constant sacrifices and risks undertaken by our medical community, including doctors, nurses, therapists and technicians, to be there for others and to help others at their time of need in improving their health situation and outcomes,” Michael said.
Due to the severity of COVID-19’s impact on his health, Michael faced a difficult road to recovery. After being on a ventilator for a month, he had to go through physical therapy to reclaim the use of his muscles.
In addition, Michael went through countless rounds of occupational and speech therapy, which continued following his release from the hospital – after more than 70 days – at the end of May 2020.
Throughout his hospital stay and recovery, Michael received uplifting support from his wife, Jackie; their children Jake, Aaron and Rebecca; and friends, neighbors and colleagues.
“In addition to the medicine and medical treatments, much of my resilience and recovery process was advanced by the encouragement of dear friends and family,” Michael said, “and my belief that there is still much to accomplish and contribute to this world.”
Michael actively encourages others to step up to donate blood, platelets or plasma. As much as 15% of all hospitalizations require transfusions, making it one of the most frequently performed procedures in U.S. hospitals.
“Continuing to donate in order to help others is a simple, relatively fast, yet critically important step necessary to save lives and pay it forward within our local and broader community,” Michael said.
Despite the frightening and life-threatening nature of his experience, Michael looks ahead with hope, optimism and gratitude.
“You have to keep pushing yourself and believing in your future, even when your challenges seem daunting and monumental. A positive attitude and relentless drive can meaningfully contribute to your outcome,” he said. “My experience served as an important reminder to avoid taking anything for granted, including the sanctity of life and family, and the overall goodness of humanity.”
You can make a lifesaving difference by donating blood, platelets or plasma. Please make an appointment by calling or texting Carter BloodCare at 800-366-2834 today.