This man's blood has saved 2.4 million babies

James Harrison's blood plasma contains an antibody that stops babies dying from Rhesus disease a form of severe anaemia

After his surgery, Harrison promised to become a blood donor to help others. "It's one of my talents, probably my only talent, is that I can be a blood donor". It's made from the plasma of donors like Harrison. His doctors said it was time to cease the donations - and they certainly don't take them lightly. "Women were having numerous miscarriages and babies were being born with brain damage".

Her blood can then cross the placenta and attack the baby's blood cells, thus causing the baby to have a shortage of blood.

This only occurs when the mother has Rhesus negative blood, RHD, and her fetus has Rhesus positive blood, which it would have inherited from it's father.

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.

Anti-D, produced with Harrison's antibodies, prevents women with rhesus-negative blood from developing RhD antibodies during pregnancy.

Harrison's blood is precious.

James Harrison, 81, retired from donating blood Friday, ending a 60-year chapter as a blood donor in Australia where many called him "the Man with the Golden Arm", KPTV reported.

Nearly every week, the 81-year-old dubbed "the man with the golden arm" has donated 500-800ml of blood plasma. "Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from James' blood".

'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'.

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One of those lives is that of baby Samuel, who is just five weeks old.

In Australia, 17% of the pregnant women have received Anti-D, and even Mr. Harrison's daughter got it.

The discovery of Harrison's antibodies was an absolute game changer, Australian officials said. "I increased the population by so many million, I think".

According to CNN, doctors are unsure why Mr Harrison has this rare blood type, but they concluded that it might have been triggered from the transfusions he received while a teenager, after his operation, which saved his life.

Jemma Falkenmire at the Australian Red Cross Blood Donor Service said "very few people have the these antibodies in such strong concentrations".

"All we can do is hope there will be people out there generous enough to do it, and selflessly in the way he's done", she said.

The woman's body responds to the RhD positive blood by producing antibodies (infection-fighting molecules) that recognise the foreign blood cells and destroy them.

That would be more than two million lives, according to the blood service, and for that Harrison is considered a national hero in Australia. He's now donated his plasma more than 1,000 times, but no matter how many times he's given blood there's one thing that will never change: "Never once have I watched the needle go in my arm", he says.

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