Plasma gives Charlie life every week
Diagnosed with a rare genetic condition, Charlie relies on a regular infusion of immunoglobulin for protection against common viruses and bacteria.
When Charlie was just two years old, he developed a serious brain infection. In healthy children, the immune system would fight off the infection before it progresses, but little Charlie had an undiagnosed immunodeficiency (meaning his immune system couldn’t do its job).
Instead, he went floppy and had a seizure.
“It was a focal seizure, which means he went limp and it was completely terrifying,” said mum, Sarah.
Sarah was facing a mother’s nightmare: Charlie had stopped being able to walk, talk, or feed himself, and was given a 50% chance of survival. Fortunately, the doctors at Perth Children’s Hospital were there to save the day. As well as treating the infection, they identified his rare genetic condition as one that leaves his body unprotected from common viruses and bacteria.
Charlie received Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg) for 6 months in hospital. IVIg is a mix of antibodies that can help someone with a “hostile” immune system. Essentially, it borrows the donors’ immune systems and gives it to someone (Like Charlie) whose immune system isn’t working as they should.
Following the treatments, Charlie re-learnt to walk, talk, and eat, and fully recovered from the brain infection. To manage his condition, Charlie needs weekly infusions of immunoglobulin — and will for life.
“I'm hopeful that people keep donating and that people realise the profound impact they have on people by doing it," Sarah says.
Many adults and children depend on life-saving medicine made from donated plasma, which is that pale yellow part of your blood. Donating plasma is a lot like donating blood, and just as rewarding. In fact, plasma can help in 18 different life-giving ways.
If you met Charlie, you’d be sure to hear how much loves his cars, planes and trucks. With quite a collection, it’s no surprise his knowledge on the topic is very impressive! Some of his other hobbies include bouncing on his trampoline and playing in his sandpit.
Just an hour out of your day makes a lifetime of happiness for someone like Charlie. If you’ve been looking for a sign to do a good deed, look no further. Book in your fortnightly plasma donation for a regular dose of that fulfilling feeling.