Any donor is a real hero, saving human lives and at the same time remaining in the shadows.
The hero of this story, the Australian James Harrison, donated blood 1173 times. And this allowed two million babies to be born healthy.
James was born in 1936. He grew up as an ordinary boy and never got sick with anything serious, except for seasonal colds.
But everything changed at the age of fourteen, when the teenager was in the hospital and the doctors fought for his life for many weeks.
James underwent breast surgery. Of course, he also needed a blood transfusion.
In total, the doctors used thirteen liters of blood, only this could save James’ life.
He left the hospital after a 3-month rehabilitation, having vowed to become a donor immediately after reaching the age of majority.
James first donated blood in 1954. And during this procedure, it suddenly became clear that he was terribly afraid of needles.
This is a real physiological fear, which is almost impossible to control. But this did not stop James, the man was going to fulfill the promise made to himself.
And this decision became vital for millions of children.
Doctors have found that the blood of James Harrison has an unusual, very rare composition. It contains numerous antibodies called immunoglobulin RHo (D).
This component of blood plasma is necessary for the prevention and treatment of pregnancy complications that develop due to the incompatibility of the blood of the mother and the baby she is carrying.
It is also necessary for the treatment of erythroblastosis of the newborn, that is, a hemolytic disorder.
The plasma donated by James Harrison is being used to produce the anti-D vaccine. Its use eliminates the problems caused by the Rhesus conflict.
For example, if a woman has blood with a negative Rh factor, and the father of the child has a positive one, then complications during pregnancy, as well as the development of a hemolytic disorder in an infant, are inevitable.
The child inherits the Rh factor of the father, and this leads to the fact that the mother’s immune system begins to “fight” with the baby in the womb.
Upon learning of this, James felt compelled to donate blood every two weeks. And it saved the health and lives of an incredible number of children.
Among those who avoided issues thanks to injections of a vaccine made from James’s blood was his own daughter.
Incredibly, this simple man, who spent his whole life in New South Wales, became the guardian angel for two million children, including his own grandson.