Aussie James Harrison has donated 1,117 bags of blood, which contains an antibody used to help treat babies with Rhesus disease, a form of anaemia, which affects babies while they're in the womb and can be fatal. By analyzing data on Australian births, the percentage of the population that got the injections, and the risk of death from HDN, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service has determined that his donations have saved 2.4 million babies, the Sydney Morning Herald explained.
'Medications like Anti-D are a life-giving intervention for thousands of Australian mums, but they are only available because men like James give blood'.
Harrison has just given his blood from his "golden arm" for the last time but the bittersweet moment is nothing short of a memorable for him.
Harrison can no longer donate blood because Australia does not allow donors over the age of 81, but the 81-year-old has vowed to continue helping the medical field by donating samples of his DNA for research, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. He has given up to 800 ml of blood once a week during his course as a blood donor. Doctors found it contained an antibody which could be used to create the life-saving "Anti-D" injections.
Doctors are not yet sure of why the 81-year-old has such a rare and unique blood type which develops both the Rh-negative blood and Rh positive antigens, but they think that this might have happened due to the blood transfusions he received when he was 14.
Despite donating for 50 years, James said he's "never once watched the needle go in".
Ms Falkenmire said that up until 1967, 'there were literally thousands of babies dying each year, doctors didn't know why and it was terrible.
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Warm & Muggy Mother's Day Weekend!
A subtropical low forming over the southern gulf late this weekend will lift northward to the west of Florida Monday . Staying dry for the weekend and next week, with lots of sunshine! The weather pattern finally changes a bit Monday .
The condition develops when the infant's mother has rhesus negative blood, and the baby inherits rhesus positive blood from the father.
The disease is caused when the blood of the pregnant women starts to attack the blood cells of the unborn baby.
During pregnancy, if a mother has Rh- blood and her fetus has Rh+ blood, it can cause problems if their blood starts to mix.
The woman's body responds to the RhD positive blood by producing antibodies (infection-fighting molecules) that recognise the foreign blood cells and destroy them. This is known as Rhesus disease.
This is a potentially deadly condition that can occur when mothers and their unborn babies have incompatible blood types.
It is uncommon these days because it can usually be prevented using injections of anti-D immunoglobulin.