Not everyone on this Earth is greedy, selfish and self absorbed. There are still some good people existing and James Harrison is one such example.
A pleasant and obliging person, this 81 year old man has continuously donated blood every week for 60 long years and, according to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, has saved the lives of 2.4 million children. He is a true hero in a real sense!
Also known as the ‘Man with the Golden Arms’, this Australian man retired on Friday, which marked the occasion of 60 years of his unconditional service, the end of a monumental act of kindness, which earned him the blessings of many.
But how did his blood saved so many lives?
His blood was unique, the doctors had said. It consists of antibodies that can fight off diseases, one that is used to develop the injection which is called Anti-D. This injection is helped to cure a deadly disease called rhesus. In this disease, a pregnant woman’s body infected blood begins to attack the blood cells of the unborn baby that is still inside of her, leading to brain damage and sometimes even death.
This condition forms in the body when the blood of a pregnant woman turns out to be rhesus negative while the baby in her belly has rhesus positive blood that the baby has inherited from their father.
If the mother had a similar experience in the past, where she had given birth to a rhesus positive baby and was herself sensitized with rhesus positive blood, she may develop antibodies to wear off the baby’s foreign blood cells which can be very dangerous for the baby.
But Harrison used his extraordinary gift of donating blood after he had a major chest surgery when he was 14 years old. His blood had the antibodies which could be used in the making of Anti-D injections, so he began with the practice of donating blood plasma to many who needed it. Doctors believe it may be due to the transfusions he received during his surgery that transformed his blood type to something special. Every bag of blood is precious since James helped recover so many lives. It is applied as a life-saving medicine in the body of mothers who attack their unborn babies with their rhesus negative blood. Every batch of Anti-D injection in Australia is made from James Harrison’s blood. And he has helped more than 17% of women’s lives.
About 3 million doses of injections were given to rhesus infected women since 1967. Even Harrison’s own daughter was given the same injection. As a consequence, their grandson was also born healthy.
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“It feels good”, he says, “that you save so many lives with something that you have naturally.”
The discovery of his blood cells was an absolute game changer in itself. The solution for the increasing number of babies dying every year was finally evident. Larger numbers of women were having miscarriages and children were born with deformed brains. James Harrison was a lifesaver. It was a quite revolutionary action in Australia, since it was the first country where a life saving blood donor was found, in a country where death rates from miscarriages were high.
Is he to be considered a national hero? Yes!
He is called one in Australia, where he saved nearly 24 million lives. He was felicitated and given numerous awards for his act of generosity and magnanimity. He says that he is so humbled to get praises from people who recognize me as the man who has done so much for his countrymen. He says it’s probably his only talent, the one natural talent that he puts to use to reduce the suffering with women.
The Australian Red Cross authority says that they expect many more donors to turn up, following on the path of Harrison, one who has helped spread awareness. They believe many more people will come forward to contribute to this act of generosity selflessly. Only then the people of Australia can prosper.
James Harrison is a champion, one who has risked his life every time while donating blood for a woman and her newborn. There are very few such people like him, people who are actually compassionate and genuinely think for the others.