The blood of James Harrison has helped save over 2.4 million babies.
James Harrison, 78, father and grandfather lives near Sydney is nicknamed “man with the golden arm”. He enjoys spending time with his daughter and grandchildren, collects stamps, and loves to take walks near his home on the Central Coast of Australia. But it’s what’s under her skin that makes it extraordinary, in particular, the one that runs through his veins. Over the past 60 years, she went every week to a blood bank and donated blood plasma from his right arm. The blood plasma of Harrison has been used to help save the lives of millions of people. At the age of 14, he underwent major chest surgery, requiring 13 litres of blood. After surgery, he was in the hospital for three months. Realizing the blood had saved his life, he made a pledge to start donating blood as soon as he turned eighteen, the then-required age.After her first donation, doctors discovered that he was something special. Jemma Falkenmire of the Australian Red Cross told CNN that until 1967, thousands of children die every year from a disease not known to medical specialists. Thanks to ‘unusual anti-body of Harrison present in his blood, doctors discovered the ticket “golden” necessary. Since 1960, Harrison has worked with several doctors who have used antibodies in the blood to develop an injectable drug called Anti-D. Dr. Falkenmire also told CNN that “each bag of blood is precious, but the blood James’ is particularly amazing. His blood is actually used to make a life-saving drug, injected pregnant women whose blood is a risk of contaminating their unborn child. Each lot Anti-D that was ever done in Australia is produced with the blood of James’. “For this reason, Harrison is widely considered a national hero, having won numerous awards for his actions and to have carried out more than 1,000 plasma donations. Doctors know that for her old age, in a few years will have to stop donating, but their hope is that someone with the same blood type to come forward following the example of Harrison.