MAY 16, 2018 Harrison, known as the “Man With the Golden Arm,” has donated blood nearly every week for 60 […]
MAY 16, 2018
Harrison, known as the “Man With the Golden Arm,” has donated blood nearly every week for 60 years.
81-year-old Australian man has a rare antibody in his bloodstream that is used to make a lifesaving medication called Anti-D, which infants need if they have an opposite blood type to their mother. If they don’t have it the newborn could die.
Harrison made the decision to donate after he underwent major chest surgery and depended on blood donations to save his life, according to the Red Cross.
Since learning about the antibody in his bloodstream in 1957, Harrison has made 1,173 blood donations.
On Friday, Harrison made his final trip to the blood donation centre.
“It’s a sad day for me. The end of a long run,” Harrison told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I’ve saved a lot of lives and brought a lot of new kids into the world. So that makes me feel good,” he said.
At age 81, he had already passed the age limit allowed for donors, and the blood service had decided Harrison should stop donating to protect his health, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Attempts to create a synthetic version of the antibody have so far failed. Australia’s Anti-D program is wholly dependent on just 160 donors.
Harrison currently holds a Guinness world record for his efforts but he hopes that it will be broken – because that means another two million lives can be saved.