Blood donation is one of the most important things we can do to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community.
One man has taken this to the limit, with his continually selfless actions saving millions of lives. James Harrison is somewhat of an anomaly. It is stated that ‘for every regular blood donation, three lives could be saved; an ordinary plasma donation could save 18’, but Harrison’s donations have resulted in literally millions of lives being saved.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald:
‘The 81-year-old’s plasma contains a potent antibody used to create a remarkable treatment known as Anti-D that protects unborn babies from the potentially deadly Rhesus D Haemolytic Disease (HDN).
On Friday, after more than 60 years and 1173 donations, Mr Harrison made his final benefaction.’
Due to his regular plasma donations, which Harrison has been giving since the 1960s, pregnancy related complications and fatalities have been greatly reduced.
Now, however, he has given his last donation. Harrison, now 84, is no longer able to donate, bringing to an end his 60 year run.
The Herald added:
‘“Every ampule of Anti-D ever made in Australia has James in it,” said Robyn Barlow the Rh program coordinator who recruited James, the program’s first donor.
“Since the very first mother received her dose at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in 1967.
“It’s an enormous thing … He has saved millions of babies. I cry just thinking about it,” she said.
Jemma Falkenmire at the Australian Red Cross Blood Donor Service said “very few people have the these antibodies in such strong concentrations.
“His body produces a lot of them and when he donates his body produces more,” Ms Falkenmire said.‘
While James Harrison’s tenure may have come to an end, there is no reason for the assistance to disappear completely. Check your local blood donation clinic for details on eligibility and when you can get involved. Every visit counts and you will be directly saving lives.