An 81-year-old man in Australia who has given blood every week or two for almost 60 years – helping to save the lives of an estimated 2.4 million babies – has expressed his “sadness” at making his final donation. Speaking at a donation centre in Sydney, James Harrison, who admits to a lifelong fear of needles, was surrounded by grateful mothers of babies he has saved as he made his last offering. Unusually, his blood has an antibody that can help to protect unborn babies from haemolytic disease of the newborn, a potentially deadly condition. Mr Harrison was asked to donate in the 1960s, shortly after scientists in Australia discovered that his blood type could help to prevent a condition that can cause severe – and potentially fatal – anaemia in babies. Known as “the man with the golden arm”, he has made 1,173 donations – 1,163 from his right arm and 10 from his left – and helped to produce more than 3 million doses of Anti-D, a medication that can save babies’ lives.
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