The Man with the Golden Arm

Here is a story from the DailyMail (UK) about how an Australian blood donor has made a far reaching impact.

Not too long ago, thousands of babies in Australia were dying each year of Rhesus disease. Other newborns suffered permanent brain damage because of the condition. The disease creates an incompatibility between the mother’s blood and her unborn baby’s blood. It stems from one having Rh-positive blood and the other Rh-negative.

James Harrison, 74, has an antibody in his plasma that stops babies dying from Rhesus disease and since then he has been given to hundreds of thousands of women. He has enabled these mothers to give birth to healthy babies, including his own daughter, Tracey, who had a healthy son thanks to her father’s blood. It is estimated that he has helped save 2.2 million babies so far.

He made a pledge to be a donor at age 14 after undergoing major chest surgery in which he needed 3.5 gallons of blood. Mr Harrison has been giving blood every few weeks since he was 18 years old and has now racked up a total of 984 donations. When he started donating, his blood was deemed so special his life was insured for one million Australian dollars. He was also nicknamed the ‘man with the golden arm’ or the ‘man in two million’. His blood has since led to the development of a vaccine called Anti-D.

If haven’t considered donating before and are eligible, you might want to reconsider. Your donation could have more of an impact than you would think!

Photo: James Harrison, MailOnline