A self-confessed shopaholic has made more than $3,000 donating her plasma to fund her retail therapy habit.
Carisa Barker, 20, has spent a year visiting a clinic twice a week to donate the protein-rich liquid found in blood in exchange for cash to bankroll her shopping sprees.
The student and part time nanny makes $280 a month from her plasma and in one year she has raked in $3,360.
Barker, of Salt Lake City, Utah, recommends the practice as an effortless way to make money.
She said: “I would absolutely recommend it to people who are short of cash and want to go shopping. I donate plasma twice a week.”
“I get $20 the first time and $50 the next time,” Barker dished. “It’s just a little bit of extra money that I can spend that I don’t feel I worked very hard for.”
Plasma is the yellowish fluid in blood which remains after the white and red blood cells and platelets have been removed. The liquid consists of water, salts, proteins and enzymes and is used in medicines that help people suffering from burns, shock, trauma and other medical emergencies.
While blood donors are not offered money in exchange for their donations, plasma collection centers across the US offer payment in return for plasma.
Barker, who is studying communications at college, calls herself a “shopaholic” and admitted that she hits the mall about three times a week.
She estimates that she spends about $600 a month on clothes, shoes and beauty products.
“I’m a shopaholic and I would shop every day if I could. I usually go three or four times a week,” Barker said. Clothes and shoes are my favorite things to buy and I also love beauty products.”
“On each shopping trip I only spend about $50 but that adds up to $150 a week. If I see something that I like or there’s a discount or a good deal, I’ll just buy it,” she revealed. “I feel powerful knowing that I have the money and I can buy stuff.”
The woman began donating plasma last summer after a friend suggested it as an easy way to make money and she hasn’t looked back.
The process takes an hour and a half each time at BioLife Plasma Services in Layton, Utah.
During the donation process, called plasmapheresis, the blood is removed from Barker’s body, the plasma is collected, and the remaining blood components are returned to her body.
“One of my friends does it and she took me with her one time. I just kept doing it,” she revealed. “I do it as often as I can which is usually twice a week. It takes about an hour and half each time I go.”
“I go in and complete a survey to make sure I am feeling well that day, that I have no tattoos or piercings. They screen you and take your blood pressure and temperature. It takes them a while to pump the blood out and put it through the machine.”
“The machine separates the red blood cells from the plasma. Then they put the blood back into my body,” she said. “As long as I eat a lot of protein before I go and stay hydrated, I feel fine.”
“There are no health risks that I know of and my parents are fine with me doing it. My plasma is used to make medicines for people with rare diseases,” Barker went on. “It makes me feel good to know that I’m helping people. I plan to keep donating.”
Although friends have asked Barker to curb her shopping habits, she admitted that she can’t see a time when she won’t indulge in retail therapy.
“My friends have told me to stop shopping but I can’t. I live at home and all of my money goes on shopping,” she said. “I would save a lot of money if I stopped but as long as I have money that I can spend, I’m going to keep doing it.”
“If I was ever at a point where I didn’t have money, I would stop. Shopping is my biggest expenditure but I also spend a lot on travel.”
Barker updates her followers on her shopping sprees and plasma donation on her YouTube channel Carisa Barker.
A representative for BioLife said: "Strict criteria, including donation frequency, have been established for plasma donation by global regulatory authorities to ensure the safety of donors and recipients of plasma-derived therapies.”
"Donors also must meet screening criteria for blood count (hematocrit) and total protein levels, along with other screening criteria, prior to each donation - additional testing is done every four months,” they continued. "BioLife adheres to those standards as part of our commitment to the highest standards of safety for our donors and our products that go out to patients.”
"Plasma collected from healthy donors is processed into a wide variety of therapies that benefit thousands of people every day with rare, often life-threatening diseases such as immunodeficiency disorders, hemophilia and hereditary angioedema (HAE)."
This story was originally published by SWNS.