Man who saved 2.4 million babies by donating blood 'retires'

James Harrison known as the

James Harrison known as the"Man With the Golden Arm" has donated blood nearly every week for 60 years

James Harrison, dubbed the "man with the golden arm", has provided 1,117 bags of vital blood which contain an antibody in his plasma, and stops babies dying from Rhesus disease, a form of severe anaemia.

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Jemma Falkenmire, spokesperson for the Blood Service, said: 'Australia owes a big thank you to James Harrison. Doctors found it contained an antibody which could be used to create the life-saving "Anti-D" injections.

James Harrison has extraordinary blood. In acute cases, the disease can lead to brain damage or even death for the unborn babies. This event was celebrated by a number of parents whose babies' lives were saved by the Anti-D injection, as four balloons spelling out the number 1,173 hovered above Harrison's head as he prepared to make his final donation.

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"In Australia, up until about 1967, there were literally thousands of babies dying each year, doctors didn't know why, and it was very bad", Jemma Falkenmire, of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, told Gupta.

The disease is caused when the blood of the pregnant women starts to attack the blood cells of the unborn baby.

According to CNN, doctors are unsure why Mr Harrison has this rare blood type, but they concluded that it might have been triggered from the transfusions he received while a teenager, after his operation, which saved his life.

If sensitisation occurs, the next time the woman is exposed to RhD positive blood her body will produce antibodies immediately.

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Greater than 3 million dosages of Anti-D including James' blood have actually been released to Aussie mommies with an adverse blood group considering that 1967. He is one of the 50 people in Australia with this blood type. "He has saved millions of babies".

The affectionate nickname comes from homage to the Australian senior's astonishing blood donor track record and the game-changing effect that his donations have had on his country.

After his surgery, Harrison promised to become a blood donor to help others.

"To say I am proud of James (my dad) is an understatement", Harrison's daughter, Tracey Mellowship, wrote on Facebook last month, noting she had needed an Anti-D injection in 1992, after the birth of her first son. Harrison discovered his blood had unique properties when he had a lung removed, aged 14. At the moment, only 200 donors are qualified for the Anti-D program, though Australian Red Cross Blood Service officials are hoping more people will be eligible for their program going forward.

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