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      BioLife needs your Liquid Gold

      The need for plasma has gone up now that Northern Michigan University is out for the summer. BioLife Plasma Services in Marquette has seen a drop in donors since graduation, a common problem each summer.

      "Liquid Gold"...that's what they call plasma at BioLife. Fifty-two-year-old Dan Adamini of Marquette has been donating his plasma regularly since 2006. He had been donating intermittently before, but it wasn't until 2006 that he started donating the maximum twice a week every week, almost without fail. On Friday, he made his 315th donation.

      "It goes to a very good cause. It's a way to help people, and it really doesn't take much time or effort. It really just becomes another part of the week," said Adamini.

      BioLife relies on regulars like Adamini. Many donors are NMU students, and once school is out, many of them move away and the number of donations drops over the summer. In a normal week, officials say the facility receives about 2,000 donations a week.

      Plasma is widely used in medicine, often for treating conditions like hemophilia or immune system deficiencies. According to the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association, more than one million patients use plasma therapeutics every year, totaling a use of about 22 million liters of plasma.

      "For people to live normal and healthy lives, they need us to collect the amount of plasma that we do," said Barry Oosterhouse, Center Manager for the Marquette facility.

      Plasma donations are similar to blood donations but can sometimes take an hour. Adamini uses this time to read or make phone calls.

      "Once you're hooked up onto the machine, there's really no work involved on our part, so it's a good chance to get caught up on things," Adamini said.BioLife offers financial compensation. Frequent donors can make up to $200 a month or $2,400 a year, but compensation per donation often varies from month to month and with different facilities. BioLife also offers other incentives like a "Buddy Bonus" when you refer a friend, or raffles. On Memorial Day Monday, the facility is raffling off a grill to those who donate Monday.

      Adamini says he'd donate even if he wasn't paid."Everybody should do something, and this is something that does help a lot of people and it doesn't take a lot of time or effort on our part, so I think we all should do what we can," Adamini said.

      Donors must meet certain age and physical requirements. To learn how to donate, visit BioLife's website .