Man with the ‘Golden Arm’ Saves 2 Million Babies in Half a Century of Donating Rare Type of Blood

James Harrison, dubbed 'the man with the golden arm', is still donating every few weeks at the age of 74. He is thought to have saved 2.2 million babies.

An Australian man who has been donating his extremely rare kind of blood for 56 years has saved the lives of more than two million babies.  James Harrison, 74, has an antibody in his plasma that stops babies dying from Rhesus disease, a form of severe anemia.  He has enabled countless mothers to give birth to healthy babies, including his own daughter, Tracey, who had a healthy son thanks to her father’s blood.

Harrison has been giving blood every few weeks since he was 18 years old and has now racked up a total of 984 donations.  When he started donating, his blood was deemed so special, that his life was insured for one million Australian dollars.  He was also nicknamed the ‘man with the golden arm.’  His blood has since led to the development of a vaccine called Anti-D.

Harrison made a pledge to be a donor at age 14 after undergoing major chest surgery in which he needed 13 liters of blood.  ‘I was in hospital for three months,’ he said. ‘The blood I received saved my life.’  Just after he started donating, he was found to have the rare and life-saving antibody in his blood.  At the time, thousands of babies in Australia were dying each year of Rhesus disease. The disease creates an incompatibility between the mother’s blood and her unborn baby’s blood. It stems from one having Rh-positive blood and the other Rh-negative.

After his blood type was discovered, Harrison volunteered to undergo a series of tests to help develop the Anti-D vaccine.  ‘They insured me for a million dollars, so I knew my wife Barbara would be taken care of,’ he said.  ‘I wasn’t scared. I was glad to help.’

Scientists found that his plasma could treat the condition, and since then, it has been given to hundreds of thousands of women.  It has also been given to babies after they are born to stop them from developing the disease.  It is estimated he has helped save 2.2 million babies so far.  James Harrison is expected to reach the 1,000 donation milestone in September this year.



Gashaw Tahir Plants One Million Trees in Ethiopia

Ethiopian-born American citizen Gashaw Tahir traveled back to his homeland several years ago and was shocked at the massive deforestation that had taken place since his departure.  Rivers have dried, mountains have been deforested, and rising temperatures due to climate change are making plant life more difficult to maintain. Tahir decided that something had to be done.

“My ultimate vision is making Africa green again,” he says. “That inspires me, touches me, and moves me into action.”  He gathered young people from his hometown, only a few dozen at first, but those young people recruited their friends and family until there were hundreds. On only two acres of land, they planted thousands of seedlings. Now, Tahir owns 11,000 acres of Ethiopian land on which his group has planted one million trees.

“You see, one person can enroll other people,” Tahir says. “Outreach to them for a vision. And he can lead, and other people follow and they can make a difference. You can do a lot. I planted over a million trees, hired over 450 young people, and made a difference in the ecology. That’s what I have done. If one man can do this with collaboration, we can make a huge difference.”


Tips for a Better Life

I found this list on the internet and thought it was nice.  Maybe you will too.

  1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
  2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.
  4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, ‘My purpose is to __________ today.’
  5. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  7. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  8. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.
  9. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  10. Forgive everyone for everything.

Obama Gives His $1.4 Million Nobel Prize to Charities

President Barack Obama named 10 charities to share his $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize, with causes ranging from wounded veterans to Haiti’s earthquake survivors and education for minorities. He had vowed to donate the prize money to charity after unexpectedly winning the prestigious prize last year, and his selection included some politically important domestic constituencies.

Following is a breakdown of Obama’s donations:

– $250,000 to Fisher House, a national nonprofit organization providing accommodation for families of patients receiving medical care at military and Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.

– $200,000 to the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, which was set up in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake to help survivors.

– $125,000 to College Summit, a national nonprofit organization to increase college enrollment rates.

– $125,000 to the Posse Foundation, which awards scholarships to promising public high school students.

– $125,000 to the United Negro College Fund.

– $125,000 to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

_ $125,000 to the American Indian College Fund.

– $125,000 to the Appalachian Leadership and Education Foundation.

– $100,000 to AfriCare, which promotes health, food security and access to water primarily in Africa.

– $100,000 to the Central Asia Institute, which education and literacy, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Thought for the Day

Friendship is a sheltering tree. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

National Geographic BEST Pictures of the Year

Here are some from the best of 2009:

“A man is related to all nature.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jessica Markowitz Helps Heal the World

The Dalai Lama gives Jessica Markowitz, a 7th-grader at Seattle Girls' School, a hug during the KeyArena event.

The Dalai Lama gives Jessica Markowitz a hug.

In 2006, Jessica Markowitz, then 12, started a charity that has sent 22 impoverished Rwandan girls to school. Richard’s Rwanda IMPUWE is named after Richard Kananga, an aid worker who stayed with her family that year (“impuwe” is the Rwandan word for compassion). Richard does reconciliation work in Rwanda, and when he told Jessica about the children who had lost their parents to genocide and could not afford school, she asked how she could help. “He connected me with 22 girls, mostly orphans, who needed assistance,” says Jessica. “I talked to some girls at my middle school, and we formed a group that bloomed into something bigger.”

Through bake sale fundraisers, school supply drives and a ton of determination on the part of its members, Richard’s Rwanda IMPUWE has changed the lives of those 22 girls. Jessica has taken several trips to rural villages in Rwanda, where she formed a partnership with a local girls’ school. She spent this past summer teaching Rwandan kids to read in English.

The charity is now expanding to chapters in five more high schools this year. For her amazing work, Jessica was awarded a World of Children Global Changemaker Award comparative to winning the Nobel Prize, but for a youth. “One big goal we have is to build a women’s empowerment library,” says Jessica. “We want to emphasize female contributions in literature and academics to show the girls in Rwanda how powerful they can be.”

Watch Jessica in this video talk about her charity: