Home / InspiringThis Man’s Rare Blood Is Responsible for Saving the Lives of Over 2.4 Million Babies

This Man’s Rare Blood Is Responsible for Saving the Lives of Over 2.4 Million Babies

Anti-D Blood Donations James Harrison

Known as “The Man with the Golden Arm,” Australia-based James Harrison is responsible for saving the lives of over 2.4 million babies. Thanks to rare antibodies in his blood, decades of regular blood donations to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service have helped create a vaccine called Anti-D. The formula was developed to fight against Rhesus disease—a deadly condition where antibodies in a pregnant woman’s blood destroy her baby’s blood cells within the womb. Now aged 78, Harrison has recently given his final blood plasma donation, bringing the total to an amazing 1,173.

When Harrison was just 14 years old, he underwent life-threatening lung surgery, which left him hospitalized for three months. His life was saved thanks to transfusions of donated blood, which inspired him to become a donor himself. Australia’s former regulations meant Harrison had to wait until he was 18, but he stayed true to his word and has been donating blood every week ever since, for the last 60 years.

When doctors discovered Harrison’s precious antibody, they guessed it could be down to his earlier blood transfusions as a teenager. Jemma Falkenmire of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service explains the rarity of Harrison’s blood type: “Every bag of blood is precious, but James’ blood is particularly extraordinary […] Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from James’ blood.” She continues, “And more than 17% of women in Australia are at risk, so James has helped save a lot of lives.” Having now surpassed the donor age limit, Harrison humbly tells CNN, “I’d keep on going if they’d let me.”

Having received the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1999, Harrison’s remarkable generosity has made him a hero to many around the world.

Known as “The Man with the Golden Arm,” Australia-based James Harrison is responsible for saving the lives of over 2.4 million babies.

Anti-D Blood Donations James Harrison

Thanks to rare antibodies in his blood, decades of regular blood donations to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service have helped create a vaccine called Anti-D.

The formula was developed to fight against Rhesus disease—a deadly condition where antibodies in a pregnant woman’s blood destroy her baby’s blood cells within the womb.

Anti-D Blood Donations James Harrison

Now aged 78, Harrison has recently given his final blood plasma donation, bringing the total to an amazing 1,173.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service: Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
h/t: [Reddit, Bored Panda]

All images via Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

Related Articles:

New Medical Device Illuminates Veins to Aid in Blood Donation

Big Brand Names Erase A, B, and O from Logos to Encourage Blood Donation

Intimate Photo Goes Viral for Quietly Celebrating a Nurse Who Helps Deliver Babies

Charming Portraits of Newborn Babies Snuggling With Baby Animals

Instructional First Aid Blanket Designed to Help Anyone Save a Person’s Life

Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Northern Irish writer and artist now based in Berlin, Germany. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. She now contributes to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.

Want to become a My Modern Met Member?

Find out how by becoming a Patron. Check out the exclusive rewards, here.

Sponsored Content