Havant councillor urges people to donate blood plasma in Covid fight after losing relative to disease

A COUNCILLOR whose relative died of Covid-19 and has since beat disease himself has urged others to give plasma to help save lives.

By Millie Salkeld
Saturday, 28th November 2020, 7:00 am

Dad-of-three Gary Robinson, ward member for Bedhampton, tested positive for Covid-19 five months after his sister-in-law, 47, died from the disease leaving behind two children.

He has recovered and has since donated blood plasma as part of an NHS trial to see if antibodies produced in fighting the virus can be transfused to ill patients. It’s hoped this will make them recover more quickly.

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Councillor Gary Robinson outside his office in Bedhampton on 27 November 2020. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The 39-year-old, who lost his sister-in-law Kirsty Robinson in May to Covid, said: ‘I got coronavirus in October and noticed after I had come home from work that when I opened a bottle of wine I couldn’t smell it and I couldn’t smell my wife’s cooking.

‘I booked a test at the Clanfield centre for the next day and got my result saying I was positive the day after that.

‘I think when it happened it was a bit worrying as we had lost my sister-in-law back in May.

‘She was healthy and got ill. I remember she said to my brother that she would see him in two weeks or she wouldn’t. And she didn’t.

Gary Robinson

‘I think when I got it I was waiting for it to hit me but other than not having smell and taste, I felt fine.

‘I think in some ways it is reassuring for people to know, that although this is a terrible virus and we need to be cautious, that not everyone has really serious symptoms.’

Cllr Robinson, who sits on Havant Borough Council, was among the first to donate his blood plasma at a new donation centre at the Hilton Hotel in Arundel, West Sussex.

The plumbing and heating business owner said: ‘When I went to the centre it was very quiet.

‘The staff there were so helpful with everything. The machine that takes the plasma look likes a microwave and it takes your blood out, extracts the plasma and then it goes back in.

‘I am told that my plasma will help someone fighting the virus, probably on a ventilator, to help them recover.’

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