CHICAGO (CBS) — We know how fast the novel coronavirus can spread.

A south suburban family said half of them tested positive, after a gathering earlier this month. As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported Thursday, the family is now encouraging other survivors to help some of the most critical patients.

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“Wet cough, aches, night sweats,” said Jake Bruene.

“It was really just feeling rundown,” said Adam Bruene.

Jake and Adam Bruene are brothers, and they both had COVID-19.

On his way to get tested for the virus, Jake had no idea that two weeks after a family gathering, five out of 10 of his family members would end up testing positive.

“The sickest among us is on a ventilator right now,” Adam Bruene said.

And it is their sick loved ones that drives them to help how they can.

“Now that I am over this thing, I feel like I can get out there and do something to help,” Adam Bruene said.

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The list of things they do in quarantine is short. But at the top of that list is donating blood plasma, which can be a rich source of antibodies.

People like Adam and Jake Bruene could be the key to helping those having a harder time with the virus.

Doctors are hoping to use plasma donations as a potential treatment option – a ray of hope for a family ravaged by the virus.

“I feel super fortunate that my antibodies were able to beat this virus,” said Jake Bruene. “I want to give someone else that chance and help them and give them a boost.”

There are potentially thousands of Illinoisans who tested for COVID-10, but recovered, who could qualify to donate.

The family is even enlisting celebrities who have recovered, such as Tom Hanks and Idris Elba, to join the cause, saying, “If you beat it, help defeat it.”

“I see it as time travel,” Jake Bruene said. “It’s like, here, take these antibodies that have had three weeks of a head start and use them for your fight. That’s my goal now.”

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If you want to donate plasma, or even just make a regular blood donation, you can sign up by going to RedCross.org.