Pioneer of Australia's Anti-D plasma program

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Anti-D program, we acknowledge James Harrison, one of our most impressive and valued donors.

How it all began

When James was just 14 years old, he underwent major chest surgery and depended on the blood of strangers to save his life. He pledged to donate as soon as he was old enough and four years later, kept his promise. He began by donating whole blood despite an aversion to needles.

Over a decade later, it was discovered that his blood contained an important antibody which was needed to make Anti-D injections. James was happy to continue to donate and switch over to plasma donation in order to help as many people as possible.

What is Anti-D?

Anti-D immunoglobin is an injection that is made up of the plasma from special donors like James.

These injections prevent Rh(D) negative women from developing potentially harmful antibodies during pregnancy with an Rh(D) positive baby. Without it, their next Rh(D) positive baby could suffer from Haemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn (HDFN), which can be fatal.

James’ Achievements

In 1999, James received the Medal of the Order of Australia for his incredible and ongoing support of the Blood Service and Anti-D program.

James has now donated over 1000 times, reaching this milestone in 2011. He is a pioneer of our Anti-D program and his commitment to helping Australians has helped over 2.4 million babies, including his own grandson.

We always need more donors to be part of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s program for collecting anti-D. This is to meet the needs of Australia’s growing population and replace those who can’t donate anymore.


Did you know you can donate plasma as often as every two weeks? Talk to us about plasma donation on 13 14 95.

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