Friday, March 26, 2010

"Man with the golden arm"

James Harrison is being hailed as "Man with the golden arm" due to his extremely rare(and life saving) blood type, the full story is below courtesy of -

"An Australian man who has been donating his extremely rare kind of blood for 56 years has saved the lives of more than two million babies.
James Harrison, 74, has an antibody in his plasma that stops babies dying from Rhesus disease, a form of severe anaemia.
He has enabled countless mothers to give birth to healthy babies, including his own daughter, Tracey, who had a healthy son thanks to her father's blood.
Mr Harrison has been giving blood every few weeks since he was 18 years old and has now racked up a total of 984 donations.
When he started donating, his blood was deemed so special his life was insured for one million Australian dollars.
He was also nicknamed the 'man with the golden arm' or the 'man in two million'.
His blood has since led to the development of a vaccine called Anti-D.
He said: 'I've never thought about stopping. Never.' He made a pledge to be a donor aged 14 after undergoing major chest surgery in which he needed 13 litres of blood.
'I was in hospital for three months,' he said. 'The blood I received saved my life so I made a pledge to give blood when I was 18.' 
Just after he started donating he was found to have the rare and life-saving antibody in his blood.
At the time, thousands of babies in Australia were dying each year of Rhesus disease. Other newborns suffered permanent brain damage because of the condition.
The disease creates an incompatibility between the mother's blood and her unborn baby's blood. It stems from one having Rh-positive blood and the other Rh-negative.
After his blood type was discovered, Mr Harrison volunteered to undergo a series of tests to help develop the Anti-D vaccine.
'They insured me for a million dollars so I knew my wife Barbara would be taken care of,' he said.
'I wasn't scared. I was glad to help. I had to sign every form going and basically sign my life away.' "

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