74-year-old James Harrison is like a super human with his blood group. Granted has saved over two million babies lives in the past 54 years. James Harrison has the rarest blood type. This can save a lot of people from dying.
The man that has the rarest blood type and that can save millions on babies with his rare blood
James has a very rare type of blood. The plasma contains an antibody that cures babies of Rhesus disease, a severe form of anemia. He has been donating his rare blood every few weeks since he was 18 years old. Hi has donated his rare blood type over 1,000 times now. James never fails to make a donation; even when he’s holidaying, he makes sure to stop by a donor center. “I’ve donated on the Sunshine Coast, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, NSW, wherever I go and I get around the place with the caravan club I’m in.” “I’ve never thought about stopping. Never,” he said. His initial motivation for donating his rare blood was a major chest surgery that he underwent at age 14, for which he needed 13 liters of blood. I said to my father that I would give blood myself as soon as possible and I stayed true to my word.”
How the man with the rarest blood type discovered the secret about his rare blood?
It was just after he started donating that the rare blood antibody was detected in him. The rare blood that James had was so valuable that his life was insured for AUS $1million. In 1966, he started donating plasma. “I wasn’t scared. I was glad to help,” said James, who has been dubbed the ‘man with the golden arm’ because of his rare blood type and all of the donations that he did. “I had to sign every form going and basically sign my life away”.
When the truth about his rare blood type was discovered, he volunteered for a series of tests to help develop the Anti-D vaccine. Rh creates an incompatibility with the mother’s and baby’s blood type. This happens when one has Rh-positive blood and the other, Rh-negative. James’ rare bloodtype was discovered to be able to treat the condition, so his rare blood is given to millions of pregnant women. He himself has Rh-negative blood and was given injections of Rh-positive.
How many leaves can this man save with his rare blood type?
Joy Barnes is just one of the mothers that James has helped. Joy Barnes has known him for 23 years. She had miscarried twice, before receiving the treatment. “Without him, I would never have been able to have a healthy baby,” she said. “I don’t know how to thank you enough.” James’ own daughter, Tracey, has also benefitted from the Anti-D vaccine, shortly after the birth of her first son. She said that she was proud of her dad, especially because he continued to give blood even after the death of her mother.
James and Barbara were married for 56 years. “I was back in the hospital giving blood a week after Barbara passed away,” he said. “It was sad but life marches on and we have to continue doing what we do. “More rare blood is needed every day, so if every current donor brought along one friend we wouldn’t have the sort of shortage we have at the moment,” he said. “An hour of your time is a lifetime for someone else.”