Family of man nearly died from COVID-19 join in ‘life saving’ experimental treatment

Jimmie Hayden’s son Wyatt donates plasma, wife plans to also

SAN ANTONIO – The family of a man who they believe is alive right now because of a plasma transfusion went to the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center Wednesday to pay it forward.

Just over a month ago, Wyatt Hayden was worried about losing his father, 47-year-old Jimmie Hayden, to COVID-19 — that is until Jimmie received plasma with antibodies from a former patient and began to recover almost immediately.

COVID-19 patient who received experimental treatment off ventilator, ‘doing great,’ wife says

For Wyatt, who recently turned 18, the timing couldn’t have been better.

“Fortunate enough he got to come home to see us for my birthday and got to spend it with him. He was quarantined in his room for most of the day. But we got to go sit outside and enjoy the nice air,” Wyatt said.

COVID-19 patient who received plasma from former patient plans to pay it forward

It’s a present Wyatt and his mother, Ashley Hayden, who both experienced light symptoms, didn’t take for granted, and wanted to share.

“We were very much wanting to help others the way we were helped. So we decided to get the antibody testing and found out we were positive with the antibodies,” Ashley said.

“It’s the least I could do is be able to donate and help somebody else,” Wyatt said.

The plan was for both mother and son to donate today, but Ashley will have to wait a few days.

“You have to have an iron level of twelve point five. My level was at 12. So it was really close, but not there to be able to donate today,” Ashley said.

So instead, Ashley deferred her plans and cheered her son on, though for both of them, having their loved one back was more than enough motivation to help the cause.

“Since I couldn’t help my husband. I couldn’t be there with him at the hospital. This is what I wanted to do to help others,” Ashley said.

“My hope is that it (my plasma) can be put towards somebody else and help save their life. So that way they can return home and see their family,” Wyatt said.

Ashley says she plans to take iron supplements and may even be able to come back and donate alongside her husband and another child who plan to do the same.

For information on how to find out if you’re eligible to donate plasma that could help sick COVID-19 patients, visit the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center’s website at or email

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