Father-of-two paralysed by rare condition 'wouldn't have survived' without plasma donation

ITV reporter Rachel Hepworth talks to Mark Hobbs and his wife Suzi about his terrifying diagnosis, and long road to recovery

A father-of-two who was paralysed by a rare condition that attacked his nervous system says he owes his life to people who donated their plasma.

Mark Hobbs, from Cowplain, in Hampshire, was struck down with an autoimmune disorder that paralysed his entire body in a matter of hours.

"I was at work and started to feel a tingling in my fingers, like pins and needles.

"I just said ‘something is not right’ and I got somebody to drive me home and my wife took me to the hospital.

"By the time we got there, which is only 15 minutes away, I was only just about able to walk.”

"I was in ICU on full life support by 10 o'clock that night - I went downhill within hours," he said.

The 57-year-old's wife Suzi Hobbs added: "It was just terrifying. He went to work and came home 300 days later."

He spent almost a year in hospital, and now after immuno-globin treatment, he is starting to walk again.

Mr Hobbs is backing an NHS campaign raising awareness of plasma donation and is encouraging more people across the Thames Valley and South to sign up.

The couple are now backing a campaign to raise awareness of how easy it is to donate plasma. Credit: ITV News Meridian

He was diagnosed with the rare Guillain-Barré syndrome, known as GBS and was unable to breathe, move or speak.

He was given immunoglobin treatment, containing healthy antibodies, made from donated plasma.

The treatment gave him a chance at recovery, and since then he has had to retrain every muscle in his body - from tiny hand movements, and hydrotherapy sessions, to finally starting to walk again.

Mr Hobbs said: "Without the treatment, I don't think I would have survived, because it was such a severe attack. No doubt the plasma saved my life.

"Learning to stand when you have no strength whatsoever is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, and I've worked in construction all my life.

"They did say there would be pain and there has been. Hopefully it'll be a full recovery and I'll be back at work and it'll be like it never happened, like a bad dream with a bit of luck."

Mr Hobbs said: 'You just get better gradually. It's a very very slow process'. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The couple are now backing a campaign to raise awareness of how easy it is to donate plasma - the main centre in the south is in Reading- where they're looking to recruit 2,500 donors.

He added: "It's similar to donating blood. It takes about 35 to 40 minutes it's life-saving- the plasma is used to treat over 50 diseases.

"It's just so easy to do and it saves lives."

Donating blood locally also supports the campaign as extracted plasma can also be used in medicines.

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