James Harrison is a 78-year-old Australian native who possesses an extremely rare type of plasma that allowed hundreds of thousands of women to have healthy children, according to Daily Mail.
Harrison has been donating blood plasma nearly every week for the past 60 years.
He has been dubbed “The Man with the Golden Arm” for saving the lives of more than 2 million babies.
In 1951, when he was 14, Harrison had his lung removed in a life-saving operation involving 13 liters of blood from strangers. It inspired him to become a donor as soon as he turned 18-years-old, which is the youngest you can donate blood in Australia.
Shortly after, doctors informed Harrison he had an antibody in his blood that could be used to develop a treatment for a sweeping disease that was killing thousands of babies each year.
Up until 1967, woman were having numerous miscarriages and babies were being born with brain damage and the doctors didn’t know why, Jemma Falkenmire of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service told CNN.
The cause was Rhesus disease, which occurs when a pregnant woman has Rhesus-negative blood and her unborn child has inherited Rhesus-positive blood from his or her father.
Antibodies in the mother’s blood destroys the blood cells of the baby, who then faces brain damage or even death.
But with the help of Harrison’s plasma, doctors were able to create Anti-D, an injection that stops pregnant woman with Rhesus-negative blood from developing the hazardous antibodies.
Falkenmire explained, “Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from James’ blood. And more than 17 percent of women in Australia are at risk, so James has helped save a lot of lives.”
She added, “I think James is irreplaceable for us.”
One of the recipients of Anti-D happened to be Harrison’s daughter, Tracey, who was injected after having her first son.
But despite donating over 1,000 times, Harrison says he never watches the needle enter his arm, saying, “I can’t stand the sight of blood, and I can’t stand pain.”