Man Donated Enough Blood To Save 2 Million Children
Man Donated Enough Blood To Save 2 Million Children
Donor with rare antibodies gave blood every two weeks for decades to save babies
14 May, 2018, 02:33
After 60 years of saving lives, James Harrison is finally retiring from his position as "the man with the golden arm".
Harrison's blood is just as extraordinary as his blood donation history. This event was celebrated by a number of parents whose babies' lives were saved by the Anti-D injection, as four balloons spelling out the number 1,173 hovered above Harrison's head as he prepared to make his final donation.
The disease is caused when the blood of the pregnant women starts to attack the blood cells of the unborn baby.
As recalled by the Washington Post, Harrison chose to become a blood donor when he was 14-years-old, after he survived a chest operation that required the removal of one of his lungs, keeping him in the hospital for three months.
According to Jemma Falkenmire of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, more than 17% of Australian women are at risk of developing the condition.
At 14, Harrison made a pledge that he would donate blood when he turned 18 after a major chest surgery that required 13-liters (0.26 gal) of blood.
James Harrison, known as the "Man With the Golden Arm", has donated blood almost every week for 60 years.
In a woman's first pregnancy, this usually isn't a problem, because the baby is born before the mom can develop these antibodies, the NHLBI says. These donors' unique antibodies, when injected into an Rh-negative mother, prevent her body from attacking the Rh-positive baby's cells.
"Medications like Anti-D are a life-giving intervention for thousands of Australian mums, but they are only available because men like James give blood". "Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from James' blood". He was even able to donate to help his own daughter, Tracey, to safely have her little boy.
The discovery of Harrison's antibodies was an absolute game changer, Australian officials said.
Harrison has a unique blood type, which contains potent antibody which was used to create the Anti-d injection that helps to fight Rhesus D haemolytic Disease (HDN) in unborn babies. "I increased the population by so many million, I think". "It's something I can do". He vowed to become a blood donor himself and began as soon as he was old enough. The Australian researchers realised that they could combat HDN by using Anti-D injections, so Harrison switched over to make blood plasma donations to help people.
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