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Some are turning to plasma donations to help make ends meet in Austin

CSL Plasma has reported an increase in donors recently.

AUSTIN, Texas — As rent increases, people are forced to find secondary means to make ends meet. 

At least that’s the case for lifelong Austinite Paris Williams. With six kids, and a job at TJ Maxx, he has gotten thrifty with the way he can make ends meet. He donates plasma twice a week. 

"At first it was for extra cash, but then it started becoming a necessity as rent started going up,” said Williams. 

It's not a big pay day, but donating plasma helps Williams pay his bills. 

"When I started it was like 75, 80 bucks [for] your first donation, 45 your second donation. Now it's all the way down to, like, 35 your first donation, maybe 50 your second donation," he said.

Williams is not the only one looking to make extra money.

"As a matter of fact, you'll see a lot of homeless people at the plasma center. There's lines around the corner. It takes hours to do sometimes,” he said. 

Employees at plasma donation collector CSL Plasma said they've been seeing an increase in donations since April of this year. The volume they're receiving exceeds their pre-pandemic level of donations. They're seeing a 24% increase in volume since last fiscal year. 

According to the CSL Plasma website, it takes two to 2.5 hours to donate the first time, and one to 1.5 hours after that. We asked CSL Plasma why it's seeing an increase and it said it's in part due to people wanting the money, but also they're seeing a seasonal increase of pre-COVID donors returning. 

In a statement sent to KVUE, it emphasized the importance of these donations. 

"Every year, it takes more than 1,200 plasma donations to treat one hemophilia patient, more than 900 to treat one alpha-1 patient and more than 130 to treat one primary immune deficiency patient," employees said.

As for Williams, he will continue making these donations, working a full-time job and being a student, all in the hopes that he can give his kids a good life. 

"There's millions of people in Austin, steadily coming into Austin, but Austin hasn't even taken care of Austin yet," said Williams.

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