Young Wolves fan who received life-changing medicines made from plasma surprised by favourite player

6 June 2024

A surprise visit from his favourite Wolves player has helped nine-year-old football fan, Oscar Eckersley, regain confidence after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder.

Oscar, from Tettenhall in Wolverhampton, received lifesaving medicines made from donated plasma during his treatment and – with support from his favourite team - he is now appealing for more local people to come forward and become plasma donors.

Oscar's story

Oscar wearing his Wolves football kit and standing with a football Oscar was playing football in the garden when his mother Joanne noticed unusual bruising on his legs. He was suffering from other symptoms including further bruising, rashes, bleeding and fatigue. After speaking with their GP, who followed up with some blood tests, Oscar was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).

ITP is a rare condition where the immune system destroys platelets, which help the blood to clot and prevent bleeding and bruising after injury.

Shortly after being diagnosed, Oscar received intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), a medicine which is made from donated plasma and contains antibodies to stop white blood cells destroying the platelets.

IVIG kickstarted Oscar’s recovery and allowed his family to explore several further treatment options. Thanks to plasma donors, Oscar was able to receive treatment to ease his symptoms and is currently in remission.

Since being diagnosed with ITP, Oscar has been reluctant to continue playing football at school as he doesn’t want to get bruised again. Despite this, he still enjoys playing in the garden with his dad Ken, and going to support his local football team, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Meeting Wolves player Hugo

Wolves player Hugo Bueno standing with Oscar and holding a signed football shirtOscar’s story was shared with Wolves who kindly arranged a surprise visit from his favourite player Hugo Bueno.

After filming an interview about his story, Oscar received a birthday card from Hugo saying he’d love to play football with him at the park – and he did just a few days later. Oscar and his family were visited by Hugo, and they took a football along to Tettenhall Green for a kick around. Following the visit, Hugo invited Oscar and his family to come along to watch the team train.

Hugo Bueno, professional footballer for Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers said:

“The club told me about Oscar’s story and the fact he’s lost his confidence to play football with his friends. It was so nice to be able to visit Oscar at his home, teach him some new football skills and see him smile and having fun.

“It feels so important that we try to bring back his love for the sport and help to make it a normal part of his life once again.

“I encourage others to donate plasma to help more children and adults like Oscar who need plasma treatments to live their lives.

“It only takes around an hour, and local Wolverhampton fans can donate at Birmingham Plasma Donor Centre”.

Oscar lying on a hospital chairJoanne and Ken Eckersley, Oscar’s Mum and Dad said:

“Oscar is a shy boy, but has a real zest for life and loves being active.

“Since Hugo’s visit, Oscar’s confidence has grown, and has been asking us to return to playing football with his friends again.

“Thank you to everyone who donates plasma because it helps people like Oscar to continue doing what they love.”

Donating plasma

Plasma is part of the blood. It’s a yellow liquid which carries everything around the body, including antibodies. During a donation, a machine gradually separates out up to 700mls of plasma from the blood. Donation takes about 35 minutes and the whole visit – including questionnaires and snacks – takes around one hour 15 minutes.

Your plasma could be used to treat 50 diseases – and it only takes around an hour to donate.

  • You can donate plasma in Birmingham, Reading or Twickenham. Birmingham Plasma Donor Centre is located at 61 New Street, Birmingham, B2 4DU. The centre is open on weekdays, evenings and weekends.
  • If you're the giving type, you can find more information about plasma donation on our website.