James Harrison, an Australian man whose blood contains a rare antibody that can create a treatment that saves babies’ lives, has donated plasma one last time.
Harrison, 81, is now over the age limit for donors — in fact, he hit the cap months ago.
But the Australian Red Cross Blood Service let him donate one last time on Friday. The service estimates that over the course of his life, he has helped save some 2.4 million babies.
Harrison, known as “the man with a golden arm,” has donated blood and plasma regularly for more than six decades, from age 18 to age 81. All told, he donated 1,172 times — 1,162 from his right arm, 10 from his left, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
“I hope it’s a record that somebody breaks,” Harrison told the Blood Service.
“Every ampul of Anti-D ever made in Australia has James in it,” Barlow told the Sydney Morning Herald. “He has saved millions of babies. I cry just thinking about it.”
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. And through the decades, Harrison has brushed off excessive praise regarding his regular trips to the blood donation center from his home in Umina Beach, on the Central Coast of New South Wales.