Kate Garraway has revealed she offered to donate her blood plasma to husband Derek Draper after they were both struck down with coronavirus.
The Good Morning Britain recovered from COVID-19 but her husband has been in intensive care since March.
Speaking on Monday’s GMB, Kate explained she was keen to donate her blood plasma to Derek after her recovery – a procedure encouraged by the NHS and the government.
While Derek is now free of coronavirus and came out of a coma last month, Kate told her GMB co-star Ben Shephard that she was wanted to help in any way she could when Derek’s condition was at its most critical.
‘Something I saw which intrigued me was this call out from the government for people to come forward to donate blood, so they can make use of blood plasma. Those who have had Covid and recovered,’ she said.
‘When Derek was very seriously affected by the virus – as in the virus was active, not as he is now – towards the end of April, I was looking for anything that might be able to help.’
Kate said she spoke to her husband’s doctors, explaining: ‘I said to the doctors, “Could I donate my blood? I’ve had it, I seem to have recovered. Would antibodies that I have be helpful to him?”‘
‘They said, “We are months away from being able to be confident that we could, in a sense, clean your blood enough to make sure that only the good antibodies were going in.”‘
Kate added that Derek has since had plasma exchanged, explaining: ‘We know plasma has been really helpful now. And more recently, Derek has had plasma exchanged, to try to support the cleaning up of the system.’
Kate asked GMB’s doctor Dr Amir Khan if the UK is in a position where people could donate blood to family members who have coronavirus, admitting ‘for anybody who has a relative who is sick, it just feels like something you could do to help’.
He said: ‘Definitely. We all want to help people who are suffering from this virus. And convalescent plasma therapy, we are really encouraging people to come forward and donate plasma. Because we need more and more of it. Particularly if there is a risk of a second wave.’
‘I really like this idea. It’s one of these old-fashioned kinds of medical therapies that has come back. It was first used in the 1800s to treat children with diphtheria, and then again in the 1900s to treat Spanish flu.’
‘The NHS and the government are really encouraging people who have tested positive for coronavirus, who have thought they’d had it in the past and perhaps have not had a test yet, to come forward and donate their plasma.’
‘Their antibodies can be used in patients who are particularly unwell in hospital to help treat their infection.’
Kate then asked: ‘That’s great now, but why wasn’t it used before?’ He admitted the evidence has ‘always been there’ but the technology and the donations ‘haven’t always been there’, and he believes it ‘should’ve been used earlier’.
On Monday’s show, Kate also revealed how her friend and fellow TV presenter Jeremy Kyle has helped her with childcare for her children Darcey, 14, and Billy, 11.
Kate explained her children have gone to stay with Derek’s parents this week, but admitted she has taken precautions as her in-laws have been shielding since March.
‘My children have gone for the first time to stay away from home – they’ve gone to stay with Derek’s mum and dad,’ she said. ‘Derek’s mum and dad have been shielding since the beginning of March because they both feel vulnerable.’
‘So this was a very big deal for them to have the children to stay, and also very important because they haven’t seen their grandchildren in a while. Very important for Billie and Darcey because they haven’t seen their grandparents as well.’
She added that her children isolated over several days before they went to visit and she washed and sealed Darcey and Billy’s clothes before they travelled on Sunday.
Kate explained that she didn’t want to travel with the children to their grandparents as she wanted to limit the people her in-laws have had contact with, so her friend Jeremy stepped in.
‘It was thanks to Jeremy Kyle that they travelled up – big thanks to him. Because he said, “Listen, my driver has been isolating and has been keeping the car very clean so I’ll take the children up.” Very, very kind of him, thank you very much Jeremy.’
Last week Kate revealed she paid an ‘extra emotional’ first visit to Derek, as he continues to slowly recover from COVID-19.
The Good Morning Britain presenter, 53, also told Ben Shephard that it was ‘lovely’ to see her partner as (28 July) was his 53rd birthday, but she continues to be ‘frustrated’ by his slow progress.
Kate told Ben: ‘I did go and see Derek, he’s had a tough couple of weeks, and it’s just frustrating, it would have actually been his birthday today so I was extra emotional so I was thinking about the day he was born.
She added: ‘What the doctor said to me was, “Sometimes, Kate, a day when nothing has gone backwards is a positive”.’
As Ben agreed that Derek had ‘a stable day,’ Kate added: ‘It’s just I’m desperate for a step forward. It’s always lovely to see him and so it’s wonderful to have the chance to see him.’
The presenter has been unable to visit her husband Derek due to strict measures in place in hospitals around the country during the coronavirus crisis, and has instead been ‘seeing him’ over FaceTime.
Last Monday, Kate also spoke about the ‘utterly terrifying’ moment her tyre blew while she was driving with her family over the weekend.
The Good Morning Britain presenter was left shaken following the incident, which occurred as she hurried back to see ailing husband Derek.
Speaking to co-host Ben, Kate said: ‘We were rushing back because we were conscious of getting back to London to check on Derek, and my mum and dad were coming for their first visit.
‘You know people say God and the universe doesn’t send you what you can’t deal with. I would like to put a message out, I am at my limit, I am at my absolute limit now. If the universe could just give me a calm Monday!’
Referring to the accident, which happened while children Darcey, 14, and Billy, 11, were in the car, she added: ‘It was the first time that I had been out with the kids in the car…
‘Leaving London, going to meet some friends in Kent, in a socially distanced way at lovely Port Lympne Safari Park.
‘On the way back we suddenly exploded. It’s that moment where you think ”I can’t control the car.”
‘All weird steering, bits of rubber flying everywhere. I don’t know if it was smoke but looked like smoke – it could be burning rubber.
‘I managed to pull over but it just happened to be on the section of the motorway where there wasn’t a hard shoulder, there was a feeder road going off so I was nervous about people going on the inside.’
Kate later admitted she had chosen to stay close to London for the sake of Derek, who remains in a critical condition at a local hospital.
She said: ‘We’ve been talking about travel plans all morning and the problems people are facing going to Spain and having to quarantine, but I made baby steps.
‘This was the first time I was taking the kids out of London. Obviously wanting to stay local to Derek and taking it step by step.’