SAN ANTONIO — The steady hum of a machine usually means progress, but right now things at South Texas Blood Tissue Center have slowed down.
The shelves are empty. For people like Jimmie Hayden, that's a tough realization.
"It's hard to see and deal with," the San Antonio native said. "The plasma did so much for me and it did it in a very quick amount of time."
Back in April Jimmie found himself on a ventilator just hours after walking into the ER. He was battling coronavirus while his family had to get updates at home.
"It was scary, it was a scary thing," Wyatt Hayden, Jimmie's son recalled. "We were sitting here knowing that we weren't able to go see him knowing he might not come home again to us."
But days later doctors gave Jimmie their first batch of convalescent plasma. Blood that would get Jimmie back home in a matter of weeks.
"It's pretty emotional. There was a lot of uncertainty in April the month I was in the hospital," he recalled.
A feeling he says he won't take for granted, as he urges others to refill the shelves.
As coronavirus cases surge convalescent plasma is leaving the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center at a record pace. Officials say if they don't get more donors they won't be able to keep up with demand, which in turn may not give others the second chance Jimmie had.
An opportunity he says is the greatest gift he could have ever asked for this Father's Day.
"To be here on Father's Day and celebrate today with my family is so very special to me," Jimmie said. "You have the ability to save someone's life, to help someone, to bring them home to their family, anybody that can please do."