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. The occasion marked the end of a monumental chapter.
More than three million doses of Anti-D containing Mr Harrison's blood have been given to Australian mothers with a negative blood type since 1967.
(Anti-D) given to mothers whose blood is at risk of attacking, and killing, their unborn babies. If left untreated, the baby can suffer brain damage or die. As her body starts feeling the baby's blood cells as a "foreign threat", she may then start producing antigens that can be prove to be unsafe for the baby.
This is a potentially deadly condition that can occur when mothers and their unborn babies have incompatible blood types.
Since 1976, Harrison's blood has been used in more than 3 million injections given to Rh-negative Australian women, the organization says. This event was celebrated by a number of parents whose babies' lives were saved by the Anti-D injection, as four balloons spelling out the number 1,173 hovered above Harrison's head as he prepared to make his final donation.
'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'.
He now has to retire, as he reached the donor age limit and everyone wanted to protect his health. "Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from James' blood". However, an extraordinary Australian man deserves a lot more than that.
Anti-D, produced with Harrison's antibodies, prevents women with rhesus-negative blood from developing RhD antibodies during pregnancy.
"That resulted in my second grandson being born healthy", Harrison said. So that makes me feel good. He is one of fewer than 50 people in Australia known to have the antibodies, the blood service said.
"In Australia, up until about 1967, there were literally thousands of babies dying each year, doctors didn't know why, and it was very bad".
The affectionate nickname comes from homage to the Australian senior's astonishing blood donor track record and the game-changing effect that his donations have had on his country. "I increased the population by so many million, I think".
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