Here, we present the story of 81-year-old Australian man, who donated blood every week for 60 years and saved the lives of 2.4 million babies.
James Christopher Harrison, also known as the ‘Man with the golden arm’, is a blood plasma donor from Australia whose unusual plasma composition has been used to make a treatment for Rhesus disease.
As Australia has a policy prohibiting blood donations from individuals past age 81, Harrison made his final donation on 11 May 2018 as he “retired” this Friday. This is how he marked the end of the huge chapter in his truly inspirational journey!!
According to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, he has helped saved the lives of more than 2.4 million Australian babies.
At the age of 14, Harrison had a major chest surgery and blood donations saved his life, so he pledged to become a blood donor.
After a few years, doctors discovered Harrison’s blood has unique, disease-fighting antibodies that have been used to develop an injection called Anti-D, which helps fight against rhesus disease.
“In Australia, up until about 1967, there were literally thousands of babies dying each year, doctors didn’t know why, and it was awful. Women were having numerous miscarriages and babies were being born with brain damage,” Jemma Falkenmire, of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, toldCNN in the year of 2015.
With this, Australia became one of the first countries to discover a blood donor with this antibody-credit goes to Harrison’s extraordinary blood!
Anti-D, produced with his antibodies, prevents women with rhesus-negative blood from developing RhD antibodies during pregnancy. More than three million doses of Anti-D have been issued to Australian mothers (including his own daughter) with negative blood types since 1967.
Harrison is considered a ‘National Hero’ in Australia. He’s won numerous awards for his generosity, including the Medal of the Order of Australia, one of the country’s most prestigious honors.
“It becomes quite humbling when they say, ‘oh you’ve done this or you’ve done that or you’re a hero,'” said Harrison, as reported by CNN. “It’s something I can do. It’s one of my talents, probably my only talent, is that I can be a blood donor.”
Must Watch: The Journey of James Christopher Harrison
Thank you, Harrison for inspiring millions and millions of people with your generosity and selfless service!