Australian James Harrison has been called the “man with the golden arm” for some time now and it’s because he’s kind of incredible. At age 14, he needed to get a lifesaving chest surgery and required 13 liters of blood to survive. After seeing the impact of blood donations, Harrison was committed to donating blood as soon as he turned 18. And boy did he donate.
After first donating, Harrison discovered he had an extremely rare antibody in his blood, a makeup of plasma so unique that it holds the cure to rhesus disease, a severe form of anaemia that causes either death or brain damage for newborns.
Image via Daily Mail UK
Image via Growing Your Baby
Researchers were amazed by his blood and its ability to save lives, so they insured his life for a million dollars. His blood has been used to create life-saving injections to combat rhesus. It was even used to help save his own daughter’s child. He’s now 77 and he’s been donating blood every couple weeks for the past 59 years totaling over 1000 blood donations. All of his donations have saved an estimated 2.4 MILLION babies that would’ve suffered from the rhesus condition.
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Image via Australia News
He’s never thought about stopping. He even donates when he’s on vacation! His superhero level of kindness and selflessness gained recognition by the entire nation of Australia when he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, one of the highest honors given to citizens that have performed an extraordinary service.
Image via Melbourne 2006
He’s often said he’s not a hero and giving blood has just become a habit to him. Harrison believes “The people on the front line, the police, the emergency services, they’re the heroes because they’re out there doing it. I just catch the train down to Sydney from the Central Coast as often as I can, read a good book, donate and come back.” On donating blood, Harrison says it’s quite simple. “An hour of your time is a lifetime for someone else.” His words really put things in perspective. So humble even though he’s truly had a huge impact on the world!
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