I was "today years old" when I discovered that those who have had COVID-19 can save the lives of thousands.

Giving blood is one thing, but to donate the plasma to help someone who has also contracted the coronavirus is a whole other ball game.

According to the Red Cross- "Plasma plays the critical role of maintaining a healthy blood pressure, blood volume and a proper pH balance. Without plasma, our body would not be supplied with many of the proteins that are necessary to support blood clotting and our immune system responses."

I recently spoke with Amanda Hansen, a phlebotomist/donor specialist over at the Rhode Island Blood Center, who informed me of the importance of donating plasma if you or someone you know has already had COVID-19.

"It’s really helping the patients who are currently suffering," Hansen said. "We are aiming for 300 units of plasma a day as the goal, but it's difficult when the mobile donation sites are temporarily closed."

At this time there are only six centers open in the Rhode Island Area, forcing the main facility to remain open on days when they would normally be closed in order to keep up with the daily goal. The mobile facilities are hoping to open back up again in March, but it is still uncertain at this time.

"Blood is needed every day, not just for surgeries but to stay alive," Hansen said. "We are taking whatever we can get, but appointments are required at RIBC.org. We’ve been steady, but sometimes the weather causes a lull. Thankfully, for the most part, we are booked as of right now."

If you or someone you know is interested in donating and making a real difference during this pandemic, simply sign up and make sure you’re well-hydrated a day or two before your appointment. Eating well before and after (foods that are rich in iron, such as steak) is beneficial to providing the blood center with a proper donation.

These are indeed complicated and dark times, but by giving back and donating plasma, those who have already had COVID-19 are making a difference and impacting the medical field. Hey, who knows, you could even be saving a life by just putting aside 45 minutes of your time.

Please be sure to wear your mask during your donation procedure to ensure the safety of yourself and others around you. For more information, feel free to reach out to the Rhode Island Blood Center at customerservice@ribc.org.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.