Most people get a gold watch at the time of retirement, but James Harrison deserves more than that.
James Harrison has donated blood every week for 60 years. According to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, a man has made 1,100 donations that saved the lives of more than 2.4 million Australian babies. He is known as the “Man With the Golden Arm.” The 81-year-old Australian man “retired” on Friday after all those donations.
The blood of Harrison has unique as it has disease-fighting antibodies that have been used to develop the Anti-D injection that helps in fighting against rhesus disease. This disease is that condition when a pregnant woman’s blood begins attacking her unborn baby’s blood cells. Sometimes, the result may cause damage to the brain, or death, for the babies in the worst cases.
When a pregnant woman has rhesus-negative blood (RhD negative) and the baby in her womb has rhesus-positive blood (RhD positive) which is inherited from its father develops the condition.
During a previous pregnancy with a rhesus-positive baby if the mother has been sensitized to rhesus-positive blood, then she may produce antibodies that destroy the baby’s “foreign” blood cells which could be dangerous for the baby.
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service said Harrison’s remarkable gift of giving started when he was 14 he had to require the major chest surgery.
Blood donations saved his life, and he pledged to become a blood donor after he recovered from the surgery.
Falkenmire said, “Every bag of blood is precious, but James’ blood is particularly extraordinary. His blood is used to make a life-saving medication, given to moms whose blood is at risk of attacking their unborn babies. Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from James’ blood.” Falkenmire added, “And more than 17 percent of women in Australia are at risk, so James has helped save a lot of lives.”