Every donor is a true hero who saves lives while remaining in the shadows.
The hero of this story, Australian James Harrison, donated blood 1173 times. And this helped two million babies be born healthy.
James was born in 1936. He grew up as an ordinary boy and never suffered from anything serious except seasonal colds.
But everything changed at the age of fourteen when the teenager was in the hospital, and doctors fought for his life for weeks.
James underwent chest surgery. Of course, he needed a blood transfusion as well.
In total, doctors used thirteen liters of blood, which was the only thing that could save James’ life.
He left the hospital after a three-month recovery, swearing to become a donor as soon as he reached adulthood.
James first donated blood in 1954. And during this procedure, it suddenly became clear that he had a terrible fear of needles.
This is a real physiological fear that is hardly controllable. But that didn’t stop James; the man would fulfill the promise he made to himself.
And this decision was vital for millions of children.
Doctors found that James Harrison’s blood has an unusual, very rare composition. It contains numerous antibodies called immunoglobulin RHo (D).
This component of blood plasma is necessary for preventing and treating pregnancy complications arising from the incompatibility of the mother’s blood and the baby she carries.
It is also necessary for the treatment of newborn hemolytic disease, known as erythroblastosis fetalis.
The plasma donated by James Harrison is used to make the Anti-D vaccine. Its use eliminates problems caused by the Rhesus conflict.
For example, if a woman has a negative Rh factor in her blood, and the father of the child has a positive one, complications during pregnancy and the development of hemolytic disease in the infant are inevitable.
The child inherits the Rh factor from the father, leading to the mother’s immune system “fighting” with the baby in the womb.
When James learned about this, he felt compelled to donate blood every two weeks. And it saved the health and lives of an incredible number of children.
Among those who could avoid problems thanks to the injection of a vaccine made from James’ blood was also his own daughter.
Incredibly, this ordinary man who spent his entire life in New South Wales became the guardian angel for two million children, including his own grandchildren.