He donated blood every week for 60 years. He saved the lives of millions of children
81-year-old James Harrison has been donating blood for 60 years. Last Friday was the last time he did so. In Australia, where he lives, he is a hero. They call him “the man with the golden arm”. But his blood is unique because it contains rare antibodies. It is estimated that donating blood has helped save the lives of more than two million children.
About James Harrison in Australia mobind „the man with the golden arm”. Although he can’t stand the sight of blood, he has donated regularly once a week for more than 60 years. His blood is unique, containing rare antibodies, with whichohe life-saving drug is produced. In total, he donated blood 1173 times and, according to estimatesoat the Australian Red Cross, pomohead to save the lives of 2.4 million children.
It all started in 1951, when 14-year-old woAt the time Harrison underwent major surgery to remove a lung. The boy survived in large part thanks to a massive blood transfusion, ktohe received. – My father told me that my life was saved by strangers – Harrison admitted years later.
That’s when he promised himself that he would donate blood regularly. However, Australian law required donors tooin the blood of completing at least 18 years of age. Harrison kept his word and after four years went to donate blood for the first time.
At the time there was a plague of miscarriages in Australia. Women gave birth to stillborn fetuses or babies with defects mozgu. Doctors did not know the cause of this. Until 1967, thousands of children died every year. It turned out that the cause was so called. neonatal hemolytic disease.
The condition most often occurs when a female has an antigenic systemoin Rh(-) blood, and the child, whoore carries has blood type Rh(+). There is then a so-called. serological conflict. The incompatibility causes the mother’s body to reject the fetus’s red blood cells, which ends up damaging the mozgu and even death.
During his first donations, it turned out that Harrison’s blood was unique because it contained an antibody, ktore can save these babies. But it took nearly a decade before doctors found it in data banks. Harrison did not think long when they asked him for help.
Every fortnight for sixty years, James Harrison has been making the trek to the Red Cross to donate blood. #9News | https://t.co/ZiY2jT1X46 pic.twitter.com/sivoQoKz5a
— Nine News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) May 11, 2018
Researchers have created anti-D immunoglobulin from plasma extracted from Harrison’s blood – drug, whichory stops the mother’s immune system from violently attacking the baby’s red blood cells in the womb. The first dose of the drug was given to a woman at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in 1967.
Since then, Harrison has donated blood three times a month. Each injection of anti-D immunoglobulin in Australia contains Harrison’s plasma. Even its corka received an injection of anti-D. Scientists are still unsure why Harrison’s body naturallyob produces rare antibodies, but they believe it is related to blood transfusions, whichore received as a teenager.
Last Friday, Harrison held his last subrohe was sent to a blood donation center. At 81, he was over the age limit allowed for doncoin Australia. Doctors also advised him to stop donating blood to protect his health.
Now a search is underway in Australia for new doncoin blood, whichoers would have the same antibodies as Harrison. About 200 donorsow has been qualified for the program. They are waiting for a specialoł studies.