Back to Top Skip to main content

In this Together: Military Couple Recovers from COVID-19, Donates Convalescent Plasma

Couple wearing masks, holding bags of plasma Retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Trae King-Latimer and her husband Jerome Latimer believe they contracted COVID-19 around the time of their first-year wedding anniversary. After fully recovering from COVID-19, they wanted to help those still fighting the disease and donated convalescent plasma together. (Courtesy Photo)

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program | Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

The COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Collection Program (CCP) is a Department of Defense effort to collect 10,000 units of convalescent plasma donated by members of the military community who have recovered from the disease. Convalescent plasma will be used to treat critically ill patients and to support the development of an effective treatment against the disease. Eligible donors should contact the Armed Services Blood Program at https://www.militaryblood.dod.mil/Donors/COVID-19andBloodDonation.aspx to find a complete list of available collection centers.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, there is a heavy amount of difficult news, but there are also rays of hope and inspiration on the path. COVID-19 convalescent plasma donors Trae King-Latimer and her husband Jerome Latimer serve as examples of the generosity of service members and their families, as they continue serve through their donation.

COVID-19 convalescent plasma, or CCP, is being investigated for the treatment of COVID-19 because there is no approved treatment for the disease at this time. There is information that suggests CCP might help some patients recover from the disease.

When a person contracts a virus such as SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes COVID-19 - their immune system then creates antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies are found in the person’s plasma, the liquid part of blood. Plasma with these infection-fighting antibodies is called “convalescent plasma.” Through the blood donation process, this plasma can be collected from a fully recovered person and provided to a patient who is still fighting the virus.

A retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. of 30-years, King-Latimer, and her husband believe they contracted COVID-19 around March 16 — of all things, the couple’s one-year anniversary. they believe that they became infected from Latimer’s place of work, since a few individuals there had tested positive for COVID-19. After their symptoms started, they were officially diagnosed on April 9.

“We had every symptom except shortness of breath,” explained Latimer. “We experienced body aches, chills, coughing, loss of smell, loss of taste, etcetera. We suffered all the major symptoms. The recovery lasted way too long for us, it was about 5-7 weeks total to fully recover from this.”

As she and her husband recovered, King-Latimer was keeping an eye out for COVID-19 in the news, learning more about the disease. That’s where she heard about CCP and wanted to know more. Serendipitously, around this time she received a call from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center about the CCP program to see if she would be willing to donate. Wanting to find out more, she called the number they provided for the Armed Services Blood Bank Center – National Capital Region and spoke with the blood donor recruiter, who provided more information and qualifications to donate convalescent plasma.

King-Latimer, who had given blood several times with the Armed Services Blood Program while in the Service, didn’t need to be asked twice. Latimer, a first-time donor, agreed to donate as well. The couple, having never donated via apheresis — or even what that process entailed — were ready to help. People were dying, even people King-Latimer knew. “We were going to donate no matter what the process was,” she stated.

Echoed Latimer, “The reason for donating was to help someone who may be suffering and in need of our donation. Our experience was real, it was alarming, especially since so many were passing away … we felt obligated to help others since we were blessed enough to recover.”

In an unprecedented time, family, neighbors, and the community rallied around them during their recovery. It made King-Latimer, a contractor at the Pentagon, recall her military days due to the warm treatment she received.

“We don’t live around the military community right now,” explained King-Latimer. “When we had COVID-19 and were recovering, our neighbors and community were awesome and so helpful. It was like that military family feeling for us. So when we went to donate it was that feeling of family, community. When you think about donating for this program, think of it as donating for a family member. For your military family.”

When asked about the experience and why people should come out and donate, King-Latimer was emphatic. “Don’t be scared to do it. We didn’t know [fully what apheresis plasma donation was like]. Once we got there, the entire team was amazing! If you are worried or scared about it, think about how beneficial it is to those who need it. It [apheresis donation time] was about 45-60 minutes to help save someone, and that was well worth it.”

As one who has fully recovered from COVID-19 and now a successful CCP donor, King-Latimer said she would consider donating again. Her husband added, “I would tell anyone it’s a great way to give back, and that by doing so, you can possibly help save a life or two.” Latimer went on to praise the ASBP team, adding, “the experience was inspiring.”

You also may be interested in...

Trump Administration Releases COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Strategy

Article
9/17/2020
Soldier getting flu shot

Detailed planning is ongoing to ensure rapid distribution as soon as the FDA authorizes or approves a COVID-19 vaccine and CDC makes recommendations for who should receive initial doses.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS immunization experts will answer questions about flu vaccine

Article
9/16/2020
Soldier giving another soldier a flu shot

Real-time Facebook event set for 3-4 p.m. EDT Sept. 17

Recommended Content:

Immunizations | Preventive Health | Public Health | Coronavirus

Former BAMC COVID-19 patient now CCP donor

Article
9/16/2020
Man donating blood

When someone contracts a virus, that person’s immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

New communications tool rolled out on MHS GENESIS

Article
9/15/2020
Three men, wearing masks, looking at a computer screen.

Through e-Visits, providers address questions, concerns virtually.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Suicide impacts us all – but there is help!

Article
9/14/2020
Man at sporting event kissing his wife and baby

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Coronavirus | September Toolkit

Wildfire smoke wreaks havoc on respiratory and immune systems

Article
9/11/2020
Picture of a military tent; an orange, smoky hue surrounds the tent and soldiers

State and country health advisory alerts on diminished air quality have been posted and shared to alert local populations.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

Thirteen years ago Ft. Knox prepared for outbreak scenarios

Article
9/10/2020
Front page of newspaper

Some of the preventive measures that surfaced from the 2007 exercise included the wearing of facial coverings, regular sanitizing of surfaces and social distancing by such means as teleworking.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

From Ghana to Washington, Sailor provides leadership during COVID-19

Article
9/10/2020
Female soldier with mask

Acquiring supplies, in general, has been a hurdle worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

JHIEs give providers better access to patient information

Article
9/8/2020
Man looking at X-Ray

The joint HIE securely connects DoD, VA, U.S. Coast Guard and hundreds of other select federal and private sector partners with patient health and benefit information data.

Recommended Content:

Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) Program Office | Electronic Health Record Modernization & Interoperability | MHS GENESIS | Joint Health Information Exchange | Coronavirus

USU & JTS lead global COVID-19 Grand Rounds

Article
9/4/2020
Woman in hospital bed surrounded by military health personnel.

A Military Health System-wide virtual clinical case conference led by the Uniformed Services University (USU) and hosted by the Joint Trauma System (JTS) offers physicans best practices and lessons learned during the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DHA Director visits Naval Hospital Pensacola

Article
9/4/2020
Lt. Gen. Ronald Place saluting to soldiers

During his visit, Place showed his appreciation to those that have been committed to excellence.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

The Military Health System Celebrates Labor Day

Video
9/4/2020
The Military Health System Celebrates Labor Day

Labor Day pays tribute to the American workforce. This year, we pay tribute to the Military Health System Workforce.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Washington state’s COVID director visits Army Medical Center

Article
9/3/2020
Admiral Bono wearing a mask speaking to a soldier

Bono took note of Madigan’s flexibility in its COVID response.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DoD closing in on COVID-19 convalescent plasma collection goal

Article
9/2/2020
Technician wearing a mask, looking at different blood products

How to help DoD beneficiaries fighting COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

USAF doctor strives to advance women leaders in military medicine

Article
9/1/2020
Photo of Dr. Yun

While the military has come a long way regarding females in the higher ranks, Yun sees more progress to come.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Women's Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 19

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.