14-year-old James Harrison from Australia awoke from a major chest surgery in 1951.
Doctors had removed one of his lungs, following the surgery he was hospitalized for three months.
Harrison learned during this difficult time, he was alive mostly due to a vast quantity of transfused blood he had received.
At that stage, he vowed that he himself would one day become a blood donor.
The boy had to wait 4 more years as laws in Australian required blood donors to be at least 18 years old.
Harrison kept his promise and for 60 years he donated regularly to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, the organization estimates that Harrison’s blood has saved millions of lives.
Doctors informed Harrison that his blood might solve a deadly problem after Harrison became a donor.
Jemma Falkenmire of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service explains “In Australia, up until about 1967, there were literally thousands of babies dying each year, doctors didn’t know why, and it was awful, women were having numerous miscarriages and babies were being born with brain damage.”
The cause of these terrible things was rhesus disease, a condition where a pregnant woman’s blood starts attacking her own unborn baby’s blood cells.
Rhesus disease occurs when a pregnant woman has rhesus-negative blood (RhD negative) and the baby in her womb has rhesus-positive blood (RhD positive), inherited from the father.
Usually, during a previous pregnancy within rhesus-positive baby, she may produce antibodies that destroy the baby’s “foreign” blood cells if the mother has been sensitized to rhesus-positive blood.
In the 1960’s doctors discovered that Harrison has a rare antibody in his blood and they worked together extensively, using it to develop an injection called Anti-D.
Anti-D helps prevent mothers with rhesus-negative blood from developing RhD antibodies during their pregnancy.
Doctors are clueless as to why Harrison has this rare blood type.
Although they reckon it may be linked with the transfusions he received when he was 14.
There are no more than 50 people in Australia known to have the antibodies according to the blood service.
Falkenmire said “Every bag of blood is precious, but James’ blood is particularly extraordinary. Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from James’ blood and more than 17% of women in Australia are at risk, so James has helped save a lot of lives.”
Roughly about 2.4 million, to be exact.
James Harrison known as “The Man with the Golden Arm,” has made 1,173 blood plasma donations – 1,163 from his right arm and 10 from his left.
Harrison explains “It becomes quite humbling when they say, ‘oh you’ve done this or you’ve done that or you’re a hero, it’s something I can do. It’s one of my talents, probably my only talent, is that I can be a blood donor.”
The hero explains “They asked me to be a guinea pig, and I’ve been donating ever since I’d keep on going if they’d let me.”
Harrison has a rare antibody in his blood, health professionals used it in the 1960s to develop an injection called Anti-D.
Anti-D is the main answer to a deadly problem called rhesus disease.
Rhesus disease is inherited from the father and occurs when a pregnant woman has rhesus-negative blood (RhD negative) and the baby in her womb has rhesus-positive blood (RhD positive).
The mother may produce antibodies that destroy the baby’s “foreign” blood cells if she has been sensitized to rhesus-positive blood.
It can result in brain damage or death for the babies.
Mr. Harrison said, “I’d keep on going if they’d let me.” Unfortunately, James has surpassed the donor age limit and the Blood Service wants to protect his own health.
James Harrison surrounded by Anti-D babies he saved on his final donation.
Mr. Harrison was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1999. On Friday, he made his final benefaction.
Keep scrolling down to read the positive comments and view the video of his story.
Watch the video below to learn more about“The Man with the Golden Arm.”
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Published By Trending Stylist.