The Man With the Golden Arm

When Australian James Harrison was just 14 years old, he underwent major chest surgery and depended on the blood of strangers to save his life. He pledged to donate as soon as he was old enough, and four years later he kept his promise. He began by donating blood, despite his aversion to needles. Over a decade later, it was discovered that his blood contained an important antibody which was needed to make Anti-D injections. Anti-D immunoglobin is an injection that's made up of the plasma from special donors like James. These injections prevent Rh(D) negative women from developing potentially harmful antibodies during pregnancy with an Rh(D) positive baby. Without it, their next Rh(D) positive baby could suffer from Haemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn (HDFN), which can be fatal. James was happy to continue to donate and switch over to plasma donation in order to help as many people as possible. On May 11, 2018, then 81-year-old, James made his last blood donation, having helped save the babies of more than two million Australian women. Australian policy prohibits blood donations for those past 81. James had donated over 1,100 times and received the Medal of the Order of Australia for his incredible support of the Lifeblood and Anti-D program.