The NHS are calling on more plasma donors to come forward as it marks Plasma Donation Week.

Starting on Monday, April 22, the NHS is celebrating the unique difference the regional community of 3,200 local plasma donors who donate at Reading Plasma Donor Centre make to around 17,000 people in England who need lifesaving medicines made from their donated plasma.

However, more donors are still being sought.

It takes around 56 plasma donations a year to help save the life of someone like Rebecca Kaye from Oxford with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare autoimmune disease where her immune system attacked the nerves in her body. 

In April 2015, Rebecca woke one morning feeling unwell and weak which progressively worsened throughout the day.

She went to her GP who was concerned by her symptoms and referred her to Neurology at John Radcliffe Hospital.

Rebecca’s condition continued to deteriorate and her symptoms indicated GBS, which was confirmed following a lengthy MRI scan. 

Rebecca said: “The doctors came in and did lots of tests on me such as seeing if I could stand or hold my arm up whilst they pushed it down.

"I was getting worse, and they said there was no doubt it was GBS.

"I slowly lost mobility and stopped being able to walk or move my arms. My speech became slurred as I lost feeling in my mouth.” 

The following day Rebecca received her first dose of intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG), a medicine made from donated plasma which contains antibodies to help her immune system.  

After around a week in intensive care, Rebecca was showing signs of improvement and she was able to have her feeding tube and catheter removed, while slowly regaining her mobility.

In early May 2015, Rebecca was able to go home to continue her recovery.  

She said: “I stayed in bed for the first few days, then got helped to move to a sofa. I had a physiotherapist who helped me and every day I got better and better.” 

Prior to falling ill, Rebecca had booked time off work to travel across South America to celebrate her daughter finishing her GCSEs.  

She said: “In May it felt completely un-doable, but I didn’t cancel it. Every day I felt stronger and stronger. In mid-June, we travelled round Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Easter Islands for a month.

“I asked many medical professionals how I went from being effectively paralysed to being able to travel the following month. No one could give a definitive answer, but the consensus was it was because I got diagnosed and started on IVIG so quickly. I am very grateful to everyone who donates plasma.” 

A spokesperson for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “There is a growing need for the unique medicines made from plasma which is used to treat over 50 diseases. 

“We need around 600 more people to donate plasma at Reading Plasma Centre this year to help save even more lives. 

“It’s as easy as giving blood and takes around an hour. If you’re the giving type, please book an appointment now at” 

Plasma is part of your blood. It’s a yellow liquid which carries everything around the body, including antibodies. During donation, a machine gradually separates out up to 700mls of plasma from your blood. D

onation takes about 35 minutes and the whole visit – including questionnaires and snacks - takes around one hour 15 minutes.  

If you’re the giving type, search ‘donate plasma’ and book an appointment at