Man Whose Blood Contributed to Save Over 2.4 Million Babies Has Given Final Donation
James Harrison's blood helped to save millions of babies over the course of 62 years because of an anti-body his blood produced.
James Harrison, "the man with the golden arm" is credited with saving the lives of over 2.4 million babies, according to ABC News. On Friday, at age 81, after giving blood for 62 years (1,173 times) with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Harrison gave his final donation. Harrison holds the record in the Guinness Book of World Records for most times a person has given blood, which he hopes is broken, as that would mean more lives are being saved.
The reason Harrison's blood is especially valuable is because his blood has a rare antibody that is used to make a lifesaving medication, anti-D, which is given to mothers whose blood is at risk of developing rhesus D hemolytic disease, which is when antibodies attack their unborn child.
Harrison has sadly aged out of the donor age limit, and he told the Sydney Morning Herald, "It's a sad day for me. The end of a long run." He also added "I'd keep going if they'd let me."
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service posted a tribute to Harrison on Facebook, asking people to help thank him by commenting to sending a video message.
According to ABC News, over 3 million doses of Harrison's blood have been issued. Harrison was the first donor in a national Anti-D program and before the start of it HDN killed thousands of babies each year. Harrison himself underwent a chest surgery where he was forced to depend on blood donations to save his life, which caused him to want to donate.
Thank you James Harrison for your kind heart and your blood that has saved millions!