A CHESTER man who needs special treatment has welcomed news that plasma donation has restarted England.

NHS Blood and Transplant is today (Wednesday, July 21) launching a campaign for plasma donors.

Plasma donation only restarted this year after a gap of more than 20 years and few people know what plasma donation is. An NHSBT survey shows only 23 per cent of the public know about it.

Joe Keary from Chester city centre has received intravenous immunoglobulin all his life due to a life threatening immune disorder.

The 20-year-old, who is studying economics at the University of Chester, has Common Variable Immune Disorder, which means he lacks the normal antibodies to fight off infections.

Without medication, he’s at constant risk of serious infections.

To reduce the risks, Joe is treated with an infusion every three weeks at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. The antibodies in the donor plasma help him fight off bacteria and viruses.

Joe was diagnosed with CVID as a baby, a disorder with an unknown cause which is believed to have a genetic basis.

He has developed complications as he has got older, including a build up of mucus in his lungs, a chronic bacterial infection, and a low red blood cell count.

Despite these complications causing regular breathlessness and coughing fits, Joe leads as active as life as possible – he’s the hooker for his university rugby team and will next year be club captain.

Joe said: “I was constantly getting infections as a baby, and I was back and forth to hospitals including Great Ormond Street, so I was diagnosed really young.

“I can miss a lot of things, such as lectures at university – I might have a coughing fit tor two hours but I try to live as normal a life as possible. I played rugby at academy level and I will be club captain of the uni team next year.

“I hope people will now donate here.”

There was a ban on using plasma from UK donors for these medicines from 1998 to February 2021, as a vCJD safety precaution. The independent experts of the MHRA concluded it could safely be restarted. 

 Donated plasma is made into antibody medicines known as immunoglobulins, which are used to save the lives of people with immune disorders. About 17,000 people a year receive these medicines. 

People can support the campaign by sharing the news with friends and family who live near the 11 new plasma donor centres.  

The nearest donor centre to Chester is in Manchester though the network may expand in future years.

An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesman said: “We thank Joe for supporting this campaign and we hope more people will come to understand the lifesaving power of plasma donation.”