James Harrison Donated Blood And Saved Two Million Babies
Photo credit: Kate Geraghty
When James Harrison was 14 years old, he nearly died. It took a major chest operation to save his life. The surgeons had to remove one of his lungs, allowing 2 liters (0.5 gal) of blood leave his body in the process. He only survived, Harrison understood, because people he’d never met had donated the blood that now filled his body—and he wanted to do that for someone else.
Harrison resolved that, as soon as he was old enough, he would donate blood as often as he could. He went through with it, donating his first pint of blood on his 18th birthday.
Doctors started to realize, though, that Harrison’s blood was unusual. It had antibodies that were basically the cure for rhesus disease, a blood disorder that can cause babies to be born with crippling brain damage or even die.
They asked Harrison to donate plasma regularly and let them run tests, and he agreed. His blood became the cure. Harrison, now in his seventies, has saved the lives of more than two million babies.
He didn’t just save stranger’s lives, though. When his own daughter, Tracey, became pregnant, she was diagnosed as being at risk for rhesus disease. Harrison’s blood donations ensured that her baby was born safely. Because he donated blood when he was 18, James Harrison was able to become a grandfather.
People like this are true heroes, that's for sure. Anyone that voluntarily gives blood, gives life! That's my opinion, anyway.
Coffee out on the patio again this morning. Think of it as a caffeine transfusion!