Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save lives. One such extraordinary decision was taken by James Harrison – the man with the golden arm.
James Christopher Harrison born on 27 December 1936 hailing from Australia. He holds the record for making the most blood donations. On the surface, James Harrison appears to be just an average guy but once shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It’s what under the surface that makes him unique. He has a very rare blood type known as Rh Null which has been termed by scientists as the Golden blood type. His blood contains a high level of anti-D antibodies which are given in cases where an Rh (D) negative mother carries an Rh (D) positive baby. This results in Rhesus Disease, a condition where a pregnant woman’s body makes antibodies to destroy the baby’s blood cells. This could result in brain damage or death of the child.
In 1951 when he was thirteen years old James underwent a major chest surgery and had to get a blood transfusion in which he received 13 units of blood that saved his life.
This was his Eureka Moment when James realized that the donated blood he received had saved his life. It was then that he made a pledge to donate blood when he turned 18. He has been donating blood for over 60 years now.
James discovered he has a rare blood group when he donated the blood and the doctor realised it and told him that it can do wonders. From that day it was no turning back. James became a regular blood donor and also worked with doctors to develop a vaccine using antibodies present in his blood – a lifesaving medicine which saved the lives of millions of babies. This anti – d vaccine is given to mothers whose blood is at the risk of attacking and killing their unborn baby.
Donating blood from his right arm every week he earned the title of the Man with the golden arm. After more than 1000 donations which are estimated to have saved over 2.4 million unborn babies from the condition. Harrison retired after he reached the age of 81 which is the maximum legal age for blood donation in Australia. James’s blood has made over 3 million doses of lifesaving Anti – D and has been administered to over two million Australian mothers. He has won the Medal of the Order of Australia for his life-saving efforts. James Harrison is the real-life superhero saving the lives of millions and being an inspiration for others.
James Harrison – A man with a golden arm.