Give for Texans – Robert’s Story

Power in the blood for helping others heal

Try to recall February 2020. The virus now known as COVID-19 was simply called a novel coronavirus because it came from the family of coronaviruses, like the common cold, but was unlike others previously documented. There was talk about the virus mostly existing across the globe. It seemed far away, unless you worked for a large hospital system, research institution, or a public health department. Most of us went about our daily lives in naïve bliss. It was happening somewhere else. Until it wasn’t.

Virus Hits Close to Home

In Fort Worth, the Reverend Dr. Robert Pace of Trinity Episcopal Church near the Texas Christian University (TCU) campus, vividly remembers February 2020. Pace had attended the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes Conference in Louisville, Kentucky Feb. 19 – 22, 2020. Upon his return, Pace said he started feeling badly on Thursday, Feb. 27, and went to his doctor, where he was tested twice for influenza with negative results. The following Sunday at church, Pace and his staff heard news that a priest from the Washington, D.C. area who attended the same conference had now tested positive for COVID-19. The rector didn’t know the gentleman and had not been around him.

By the following Monday, March 9, Pace paid a visit to a hospital emergency room, where he was admitted for pneumonia and learned the next day he was ‘presumptive positive’ for COVID-19 – the first confirmed case in Tarrant County. Pace spent three days in the hospital.

The Rev. Dr. Robert Pace with Carter BloodCare staff Director of Mobile Operations Brandye Norman, and tenured phlebotomists Tammy Morgan and Francisco Monroy

“I was sicker than I remember ever being,” Pace shared with Carter BloodCare blood donors at a September 2021 event. “I was afraid because it was difficult to breathe and I had fever as high as 103 at one point. Even after my release from the hospital, it was a long time before I could breathe as easily as I did prior to the viral infection.” Pace’s wife didn’t contract the virus, but when he returned home, the two were quarantined in separation for 14 days in the same home – a routine repeated hundreds of thousands of times by others in their households as the virus elevated to pandemic status.

Thankful to Reclaim Health  

Upon recovery, Rev. Dr. Pace became another ‘first’ – the first donor of COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) with Carter BloodCare. Convalescent plasma is the part of the blood that contains antibodies from an illness. The Food and Drug Administration gave Emergency Use (EU) authorization for convalescent plasma from individuals recovered from COVID-19, when no other medical treatments were available. The pulmonologist who treated him in the hospital contacted Pace directly, asking if he would donate for one of the doctor’s currently ill patients. Pace agreed to help. At that time, there were too few candidates for donating plasma as cases of COVID grew at rapid pace while recoveries came more slowly.

Carter BloodCare assembled a skilled and tenured team of phlebotomists to collect the donations. It was a unique experience for all involved because the virus was frightening, and Pace’s survival and subsequent blood donation represented hope. Pace was later able to meet the man who received his convalescent plasma – another grateful survivor.  Having been fearful for his life and able to help another man in the same position, Pace confessed he probably hasn’t donated blood enough times in his life and would probably do it more often. When Rev. Dr. Pace shared his experience with blood donors last year, he shared his respect for how important blood donation is and how truly lifesaving an act it is for another human being.

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.