Man Who Has Helped Save Over Two Million Babies Has 'Retired' From Blood Donation
An 81-year-old whose blood has helped to save more than two million babies has 'retired' from donations.
Aussie James Harrison has donated 1,117 bags of blood, which contains an antibody used to help treat babies with Rhesus disease, a form of anaemia, which affects babies while they're in the womb and can be fatal.
Thanks to James' donations, Anti-D, a medication, can be made using the antibodies and given to pregnant women to help keep their unborn babies healthy.
In total, James' blood has been used to make over three million doses of Anti-D since 1967, CNN reports.
Jemma Falkenmire, spokesperson for the Blood Service, said: "Every bag of blood is precious, but James' blood is particularly extraordinary. His blood is actually 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.
"And more than 17 percent of women in Australia are at risk, so James has helped save a lot of lives."
She continued: "Australia owes a big thank you to James Harrison. Australia became the first country in the world to be self-sufficient in the supply of Anti-D.
"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."
Despite donating for 50 years, James said he's 'never once watched the needle go in'. He is now throwing down the challenge to others to try and beat his record.
James, who has been nicknamed 'the man with the golden arm' is thought to be one of around 50 people in Australia who carry the antibodies. He was even able to donate to help his own daughter, Tracey, to safely have her little boy.
James told CNN: "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."
Featured Image Credit: CNN