A special Olympian who is in a North Richland Hills hospital with COVID-19 is pleading with survivors of the virus to donate their plasma.
Lyndon LaPlante has Down's Syndrome and has overcome challenges his entire life.
He's served as a special coach for several high school football teams.
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In 2006, as a high school senior at Keller High School, he became an internet sensation when he ran 99 yards for a touchdown.
But now, LaPlante faces a new challenge.
"I have COVID,” he said in an interview from his hospital bed.
And so does his mother Genni LaPlante. They’re being treated in the same hospital room.
"I'm having a lot of trouble breathing,” she said.
Lyndon LaPlante just got convelescent plasma -- antibodies, from the blood of a COVID survivor.
But his mother can't get any plasma because she has an unusual blood type.
"I'm AB positive, very rare,” she said.
Carter BloodCare is encouraging anyone who has had COVID to donate their plasma.
"Even if you think you had Covid in May or April, come in and donate,” said Dr. Greeta Paranjape with the donation center.
She said plasma treatment hasn't been scientifically proven to work.
But she added, "The government believes and a lot of the physicians who treat patients believe this is a useful therapy. And you have to keep in mind that there are not that many therapies which are available."
Carter BloodCare has been sending out about 150 plasma units a day to North Texas hospitals but can’t keep up with the demand, she said.
Genni LaPlante summed up her and her son’s request.
“Donate plasma for the greater good,” she said.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.