They call James Harrison the "man with the golden arm", and with good reason - for the past 63 years, the Australian native had been giving blood on a regular basis, with his donations estimated to have saved the lives of over 2 million babies.
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"The end of a long run", he said as he was making his last blood donation at the Town Hall Donor Centre. After more than a decade of whole blood donations, his unique antibodies were discovered, and he switched over to donating plasma instead.
Harrison has a unique blood type, which contains potent antibody which was used to create the Anti-d injection that helps to fight Rhesus D haemolytic Disease (HDN) in unborn babies.
Since 1976, Harrison's blood has been used in more than 3 million injections given to Rh-negative Australian women, the organization says.
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'Women were having numerous miscarriages and babies were being born with brain damage.
When he was 14 years old, Harrison underwent major surgery and depended on blood transfusions to save his life.
The disease is caused when the blood of the pregnant women starts to attack the blood cells of the unborn baby.
If sensitisation occurs, the next time the woman is exposed to RhD positive blood her body will produce antibodies immediately.
" We motivate the companions and also close friends of all brand-new moms to think of contributing blood, simply one contribution assists make sure a person has the opportunity to be a mom". Australia became the first country in the world to be self-sufficient in the supply of Anti-D.
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Doctors realised, however, that it might be possible to prevent HDN by injecting the pregnant woman with a treatment made from donated plasma with a rare antibody.
Harrison has now passed the Australian Red Cross's donor age limit, but he told the Sydney Herald he'd "keep on going if they'd let me".
"Every ampule of Anti-D ever made in Australia has James in it". "I cry just thinking about it". On Friday, he made his final donation, having reached the maximum age allowed for donors in Australia. She continues saying that in 1967, James saved the first baby at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Blood service officials said their hope is that more blood donors will step forward; perhaps there will be another James Harrison among them.
After donating for the last time today, Mr Harrison issued a challenge to others to break his incredible record, "because it will mean they are dedicated to the cause".
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