Amazing man donates rare blood, saving over 2.4 million babies

At the age of 81, James Harrison has been dubbed "the man with the golden arm". 

Due to an extremely rare antibody in his plasma, Harrison's blood was used to develop a medicine which prevents newborns from dying from Rhesus disease.

The medicine, called anti-D, is now given to pregnant mothers whose rhesus negative blood leaves it open to the risk of attacking her baby's rhesus positive blood.

It is believed that he is one of only 50 people with this particular kind antibody in his blood.

From Sydney, Harrison told Sky News that it was a "sad day" when he had to stop giving blood after reaching Australia's age limit. 

This week, Harrison made his 1,173rd donation. Over the course of 60 years, he had donated over a thousand bags of life-changing blood, nd holds the Guinness World record for the most life given over a lifetime. 

"I hope it's a record that somebody breaks, because it will mean they are dedicated to the cause," Harrison said.

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service realised a statement thanking Harrison for his selflessness.

"His kindness leaves a remarkable legacy, and he has put the challenge out to the Australian community to beat it," they said. 

This is not the first time Harrison has been recognised for his contribution to medicine. In 1999, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his "incredible and ongoing support of the blood service and anti-D programme."

 He started donating blood because he understands all too well how life saving it is. As a teenager, a chest operation left him dependant on blood transfusions. 

After over a decade of donating blood, the rare anti-body was discovered. Harrison even switched from blood to plasma donations to save as many lives as possible. 

And he would keep on donating if he could! 

Search results for
View all