WHEN NSW barrister Nick Harrison made an impulsive decision to donate blood 36 years ago, he never imagined he would end up saving the life a loved one.
In the following years Nick continued to donate often, and became a regular donor at the Lismore Blood Donor Centre when he moved there with his young family in 1988.
Not long after they settled in to the regional town, a bombshell hit the family of four. Nick’s eldest son, 11-year-old Robert was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia, a rare, life-threatening disease that causes the body to stop producing healthy red blood cells. The only cure for Aplastic Anaemia is a bone marrow donation from a matching donor.
A few weeks after Robert’s devastating diagnosis, the family received some good news. Robert’s three-year-old brother Jeremy was a bone marrow match.
Perhaps due to Nick’s good karma from years of giving life-saving blood donations, luck was finally on their side.
“We were very lucky that Jeremy was a match, because back then there wasn’t a world-wide registry. Family was your only hope,” Nick said.
“It was during the bone marrow transplant that Robert needed donated blood. Without it, he wouldn’t have survived.”
Almost 24 years later, Robert is now a squadron leader in the air force, Jeremy has followed in his father’s footsteps to become a barrister, and Nick has just celebrated his 250th donation.
“My goal is to keep donating until I’m 80. I’ve still got another 15 years, so there are plenty of donations to be made yet.”