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James Harrison’s Blood Plasma: One Man Saved 2 Million Babies

By Orgesta Tolaj


31 October 2023

James Harrison blood plasma

© CNN Health

We are currently living in a world of Marvel superheroes. They can have capes, masks, and incredible powers. But sometimes, all it takes to be a real-life hero is a pint of blood and an incredible heart. And this man wants to prove that to everyone. This is James Harrison, a man who should definitely be considered a superhero of modern times. Why, you might ask? Well, James Harrison’s blood plasma actually managed to save over 2 million babies! Here’s how that was possible.

How James Harrison’s Blood Plasma Saved 2 Million Babies

James Harrison, affectionately dubbed the “Man With the Golden Arm”, has made an extraordinary contribution to healthcare by consistently donating blood nearly every week for a remarkable span of 60 years. His selfless act has played a pivotal role in saving the lives of more than 2.4 million Australian infants. This incredible feat was made possible due to his unique blood composition, which has disease-fighting antibodies that have proven invaluable in the battle against Rhesus disease.

According to reports from CNN, James Harrison’s blood contains rare and vital antibodies that were harnessed to develop an injection known as Anti-D. This innovative medical solution has been a game-changer in the fight against Rhesus disease, a condition wherein antibodies in a pregnant woman’s bloodstream attack and destroy her baby’s blood cells. The consequences of Rhesus disease can be severe, ranging from brain damage to the tragic loss of a newborn’s life.

To consistently harness the life-saving potential of James Harrison’s blood, medical practitioners follow a unique procedure. They extract his plasma, which contains the precious antibodies, and then return his red blood cells to his body. This process has enabled him to make his extraordinary contributions to blood donation regularly.

Why This Is Important

James Harrison’s blood is exceptionally valuable, as it is used to create a life-saving medication. This medication is given to pregnant women whose blood poses a threat to their unborn babies. Every batch of this medication in Australia is derived from James’ blood. Furthermore, over 17% of Australian women face this risk. So, his contributions have played a crucial role in saving many lives. This is according to Jemma Falkenmire of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

James Harrison blood plasma
© CNN Health

Jemma Falkenmire, of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service told CNN: “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% of women in Australia are at risk, so James has helped save a lot of lives.”

The Last Batch of James Harrison’s Blood Plasma

An Australian man who has been recognized for his remarkable contributions to saving the lives of more than 2.4 million babies through his blood plasma donations has completed his final donation. Moreover, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service has reported this significant milestone, marking the end of his extraordinary and life-changing journey. However, his legacy of generosity and lifesaving impact will be remembered and celebrated. Additionally, Harrison, told The Sydney Morning Herald: “It’s a sad day for me. The end of a long run. I’d keep on going if they’d let me.”

As we end this article on the heroics of James Harrison, let us remind you that each one of us has the potential to be a hero, just like James Harrison. Do you have what it takes to reach his level?

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Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!