Australian Man Saves 2.4 Million Children From Rhesus Disease By Weekly Blood Donations

James Harrison was called the man with the golden arm. Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from his blood.
James Harrison didn’t know why his blood contained a rare antibody. He just felt compelled to keep giving it.

Harrison continued donating for more than 60 years, and his plasma has been used to make millions of Anti-D injections, according to the Red Cross. Because about 17 percent of pregnant women in Australia require the Anti-D injections, the blood service estimates Harrison has helped 2.4 million babies in the country.

“Every ampul of Anti-D ever made in Australia has James in it,” Barlow told the Sydney Morning Herald. “He has saved millions of babies. I cry just thinking about it.”

Scientists still aren’t sure why Harrison’s body naturally produces the rare antibody but think it is related to the blood transfusions he received as a teenager. And through the decades, Harrison has brushed off excessive praise regarding his regular trips to the blood donation center from his home in Umina Beach, on the Central Coast of New South Wales.

Header photo (Creative Commons) by John Kalekos

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