“I wouldn’t have my children without plasma donors” says Greater Manchester mum for Global ITP Awareness Week

A MUM is calling for more people to donate plasma for Global ITP Awareness Week (September 20 to 24) after donors enabled her to have a family.

Danielle Morley, 37, of Radcliffe, developed the blood disorder immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) during her first pregnancy.

Her immune system started attacking and destroying her own platelets, the tiny cells that help the blood to clot, putting her at risk of serious or even fatal bleeding during her three pregnancies.

She was treated with immunoglobulin, a medicine made from donated plasma. There are 11 plasma donor centres in England, including one in Plymouth Grove in Manchester, just south of the city centre, and one in Bark Street, Bolton.

Danielle, a sales director, has received more than 50 infusions of immunoglobulin. She was diagnosed with ITP during her first pregnancy through a routine blood test.  

ITP can happen after a virus, vaccination or certain medications, but for most people the cause is unknown. 

Some people have no symptoms. Common symptoms including pin prick blood rashes, bruising, nosebleeds, gum bleeds, black mouth blisters, fatigue, heavy periods.

Danielle received intravenous immunoglobulin every three weeks during each of three pregnancies, which helped calm down her immune system and stop it attacking her platelets. She has also received it on several other occasions when the illness has flared up outside of pregnancy.   

Danielle said: “When I was first diagnosed they said my platelet levels would continue to drop and there was a risk of internal bleeding which can ultimately be life threatening.  

“This is why supporting plasma donation is such a big thing for me. The only reason I was able to continue having children is they knew immunoglobulin worked for me and it would help me boost my platelet levels straight away.  

“I just wouldn’t have all my children without immunoglobulin, made from plasma donations.”

Danielle’s bouts of ITP have occasionally been serious. She had tonsilitis which developed into sepsis, which can be fatal.  

“Immunoglobulin has been a life saver,” she said.  

“The people who donated are very selfless. It’s really wonderful that donors come forwards.”

Mervyn Morgan, CEO of the ITP Support Association, said: “Every year, ITP Awareness Week serves to highlight this rare autoimmune bleeding disorder which affects around 5,000 people within the UK.

“Treatment was by steroids which was not always successful, or a splenectomy.

“Thankfully today, there are many more options including immunoglobulin derived from plasma donations.

“ITP patients like Danielle, and other patients with a variety of autoimmune conditions, who rely on immunoglobulin, are indebted to the many thousands of donors who donate their plasma for the treatment of these conditions.”

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