Could you be one of the “random strangers” to save a life like Aurora’s?

In June 2021, Simon and Carrie-Anne were on holiday in Minehead when their eight-month-old daughter, Aurora started seeming unwell.

Aurora had a high temperature and kept being sick. She seemed lethargic. Carrie-Anne phoned NHS 111 and it was thought Aurora may have swallowed swimming pool water.

Aurora in hospitalHer symptoms didn’t subside, though, and Carrie-Anne took Aurora to an out-of-hours doctor, who immediately sent them to Taunton General Hospital in an ambulance.

“We went from thinking it was a stomach bug to realising it could be serious,” says Simon. “Within eight hours she went from not looking her best to not being able to wake up.

“She was still getting progressively worse in hospital. The nurse said the life was draining out of her face. They couldn’t work out what was wrong until they made their best guess it was Kawasaki disease.”

(Picture: eight-month-old Aurora in hospital)

Kawasaki disease is a life-threatening heart condition that mainly affects young children and babies. The immune system overreacts, causing the blood vessels to become inflamed and swollen. Without treatment, around 1 in 4 children with Kawasaki disease get heart complications.

It is the leading cause of acquired heart failure in under-5s and possible symptoms include temperature, rash, and the distinctive ‘strawberry tongue’. It can, however, be hard to recognise. Aurora was tested for both sepsis and meningitis before her diagnosis.

“I questioned if she was going to die,” says Carrie-Anne. “It was the worst time of my life.

“I constantly felt sick and as though I was going to lose her. I couldn’t sleep or take my eyes off her. I was told I had to sleep but I couldn’t.”

Aurora needed two weeks of treatment, including medicine made from donated plasma.

The antibodies in the plasma medicine helped her immune system to calm down and the inflammation to stop.

“Within 24 hours of receiving the medicine, Aurora could sit up,” says Simon. “She was still extremely fatigued but she was looking around the room slightly.

“Maybe three days after that she started playing with things on her lap. It was just a massive, massive sense of relief.

“When she came home, it was like having a newborn baby again. She would sleep then wake for 45minutes to an hour for formula then go back to sleep. She was fully back to normal in a month.”

Aurora holding a toy phone
Aurora was "fully back to normal in a month" after receiving plasma medicine

It takes:
• around 21 donations to help to save the life of a baby with Kawasaki disease
• around 50 donations to treat autoimmune haemolytic anaemia, where the immune system attacks the blood
• around 56 donations to treat Guillain-Barre syndrome, an acute nervous syndrome disorder
• around 124 donations to treat toxic shock syndrome, a bacterial infection
• around 130 donations a year to treat a primary immune disorder, which causes a weak immune system
(These figures are based on the average annual plasma requirement for each condition)


Aurora was monitored for a year but thankfully has not suffered any long-term damage. Some children with Kawasaki disease end up needing heart transplants.

Simon and Carrie-Anne are now supporting the appeal for people to donate plasma, with Simon making his first donation recently.

“I’d never donated blood before and it was all new to me,” he says. “It was a lovely process with a lovely bunch of people. The staff loved hearing about Aurora.

“The machine that takes the donations is really cool. What’s a bit crazy is that the machines are also called Aurora! Everyone was having a giggle about that.”

Carrie-Anne, Aurora, and Simon
Carrie-Anne and Simon with Aurora

Donating plasma is safe and easy and is similar to donating blood. An appointment to donate takes just over an hour.

“It is kind of like a magical fluid that can literally bring somebody back from almost dying. And if everybody could do that for a random stranger, it could just save so many lives,” says Simon.

“Random strangers saved Aurora’s life. It felt really good to know my plasma will go to another stranger who needs it.”

You could save the life of a stranger like Aurora – find out more about registering to give plasma here.