James Harrison of Umina Beach, on the Central Coast of New South Wales, has a rare antibody in his plasma that has been turned into millions of Anti-D injections, which fight Rhesus Disease in unborn children. Because about 17 percent of pregnant women in Australia require the Anti-D injections, Harrison’s antibody is estimated by the Red Cross to have saved the lives of 2.4 million (and counting) babies in Australia and around the world. If you think about what 2.4 million means you can say entire populations of cities and small countries have been saved by this 81-year old humble man, who like clockwork donates his plasma once a week.
Scientists still aren’t sure why Harrison’s body naturally produces the rare antibody but think it is related to the blood transfusions he received as a teenager. But thing science understand is the fact for the past 60 years every ampul of Anti-D ever made in Australia has James in it.
He still doesn’t know why his blood contains a rare antibody. He simply feels compelled to keep giving it. He was saved as a boy by a blood transfusion and after he recovered he made a vow to be a blood donor for the rest of his life.
Harrison has continued donating once a week for more than 60 years, and his plasma has been used to make millions of Anti-D injections, according to the Red Cross.
If parents of those 2.4 million babies saved only sent James (or his favorite charity) one penny per baby he'd amass $24,000 per year and more than $1,440,000 in 60 years in pennies alone.
But, James Harrison is one of those rare humans, who isn't in it for the money. Being kind is payment enough.
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