We recently had the honor of working pro bono on an autistic activist’s publicity campaign to encourage COVID19 survivors to donate their plasma.

Jesse Saperstein is a 38-year-old man with autism burdened by countless phobias including spiders, olives, and nonbiodegradable waste such as Styrofoam. But one thing he is certainly not afraid of is needles!

Jesse Saperstein donating blood
Jesse Saperstein donating blood

Jesse recently broke his quarantine during the apex of the Coronavirus to film a public service announcement at a blood drive near Albany, NY.  As soon as the needle was inserted, he began delivering a motivational speech asking society to join him in a dire, time-sensitive mission.

Jesse’s message is to encourage survivors of COVID-19 to contribute their antibody-enriched plasma. This plasma has proven to accelerate the recovery in even the most critically-ill patients.

Jesse reached out to Carney & Associates because he wanted a publicity campaign to help spread the word through the media. His ultimate goal was to launch a National Convalescent Plasma Drive from survivors willing to give back while using his poised speech as a means of assuaging the common fear of needles.

“The fear of needles keeps plenty of individuals from showing up at blood drives when the pool of plasma donors is already sparse,” explained Jesse.  “I created the public service announcement so the public could see someone engaging in public speaking while the blood products are being extracted.”

TV Coverage

We were pleased to schedule a TV interview for Jesse with Anya Tucker at ABC News10 in Albany, NY. Her beautifully produced segment ran May 11, 2020.

Guilderland man with autism asks others to donate plasma amid pandemic

Autism Advocate

Cover of Getting A Life bookA national autism advocate, Jesse is the author of two books with Penguin Group (USA), Atypical and Getting a Life with Asperger’s, and has appeared on Dr. Phil. As a result of a lifetime of bullying and rejection, it is also Jesse’s mission to help others and change the stigma of the autism spectrum.

Jesse added, “On a personal note, my much of my 38 years of life have not been pleasant even though I am fully aware that many others have been through worse obstacles.  Nothing about me is normal or has made it possible to “fit in” most places.  Being kind, considerate, and trying to make a difference has not always been enough to earn acceptance.  (Most typical youths are not entranced by blood drives and phlebotomy machines, for example.)  For the first time in a long while, there is a chance to justify this flamboyant oddness by making a difference in plasma collection endeavors.  Everybody has the ability to battle this pandemic despite their challenges and lack of certain abilities that society deems to be necessary.”

Jesse recently met with the American Red Cross to discuss possibilities of partnering on a campaign later this year.

If you’re looking for publicity services, such as interviews on TV, radio and podcasts, and articles in print and online media, please contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates for a free consultation.

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