This man's blood has saved the lives of two million babies


Harrison discovered his blood had unique properties when he had a lung removed, aged 14. But it's what's under the surface that makes him extraordinary - specifically, what's flowing in his veins.

Because of a rare antibody that is found in Harrison's blood, his donations have directly contributed to saving over 2.4 million Australian babies. The reasons can be traced back to a serious medical procedure he underwent as a child.

"I'd keep going if they let me", Harrison told the Herald.

"When I came out of the operation, or a couple days after, my father was explaining what had happened".

A regular blood donation can save three lives, and a plasma donation can save 18 lives.

But he has already surpassed the donor age limit and the Blood Service made decision to protect his health. His doctors said it was time to cease the donations - and they certainly don't take them lightly. His blood has helped save the lives of 2.4 million babies. Thus resulting in serious illness, brain damage, or death.

If the mother has been sensitized to rhesus-positive blood, usually during a previous pregnancy with an rhesus-positive baby, she may produce antibodies that destroy the baby's "foreign" blood cells. His plasma contains an antibody (Anti-D) that can treat Rhesus D Haemolytic Disease (HDN) in unborn babies.

The Anti-D injections work by preventing the woman's body from developing potentially harmful antibodies during pregnancy that could affect her next pregnancy. "Australia was one of the first countries to discover a blood donor with this antibody, so it was quite revolutionary at the time".

Harrison's blood is precious.

According to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, Harrison has made almost 1,100 blood donations throughout his lifetime and has saved the lives of over 2.4 million Australian babies.

Nearly every week, the 81-year-old dubbed "the man with the golden arm" has donated 500-800ml of blood plasma. His blood is actually used to make a life-saving medication, given to moms whose blood is at risk of attacking their unborn babies.

"Every ampule of Anti-D ever made in Australia has James in it".

'Medications like Anti-D are a life-giving intervention for thousands of Australian mums, but they are only available because men like James give blood'.

In Australia, 17% of the pregnant women have received Anti-D, and even Mr. Harrison's daughter got it. He is one of fewer than 50 people in Australia known to have the antibodies, the blood service said. "I increased the population by so many million, I think". "I cry just thinking about it", she said.

"His kindness leaves a remarkable legacy", the Australian Red Cross said in a statement.

When most of the people retire, they are presented with a gold watch.

Harrison is considered a national hero, and has won numerous awards. After 1,100 donations, the 81-year-old Australian man "retired" Friday.