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Celebrating Our Staff: San Diego Blood Bank Observes National Blood Collectors Week

National Blood Collectors Week 2023

This week marks a special occasion: National Blood Collectors Week from September 3rd to 9th. Sponsored by AABB and Fresenius Kabi, this annual event is a time to honor and celebrate the dedicated professionals who are the heartbeat of San Diego Blood Bank.

Our blood collectors — phlebotomists, apheresis operators, recruiters, technicians, and drivers — are often the first faces you see when you come to donate, and their skill and care are crucial in maintaining a robust blood supply. This past year alone, our staff welcomed nearly 60,000 individual blood donors and, through your donations, our team was able to help positively impact the lives of up to 200,000 patients!

This week, we'll be acknowledging and celebrating our incredible blood collection staff. We invite you to join us in this celebration. After all, each donation and each collector contributes to a larger mission: saving lives. We couldn't do it without them.

Meet Our Blood Collectors!

Below are descriptions and stories from just some of our amazing blood collection staff at San Diego Blood Bank.

Nursing and Community Wellness (NCW) Staff

We're proud to introduce Alyssa, who has been with us for nearly three years at our Liberty Station Donor Center. Alyssa is also an integral part of our NCW Education Department. She's known for her long-distance runs and baking skills, often treating her co-workers to her culinary delights. When she's not at work, you'll find her enjoying nature, whether it's hiking, surfing, or watching the sunset with her dog, Kona.

Meet our dynamic duo, Lilly and Dani. Dani has been with us for 2 1/2 years, and Lilly joined us a year ago as Dani's first trainee at our East County Donor Center. Both have grown in their roles, with Dani moving on to become a DOS and Lilly becoming a trainer herself. They're passionate about making donors feel like part of our SDBB family. Outside of work, they enjoy good food and quality time with loved ones.

Chris is a valued member of our mobile team and has been with us for over a year. He enjoys the diversity of his role, which allows him to explore different parts of San Diego and interact with donors from various backgrounds. In his free time, Chris is an avid cook and enjoys watching documentaries and spending time with family and friends.

Eveny transitioned from a career in public transportation to join us, bringing her driving skills to our mobile team. She's found her role in phlebotomy to be incredibly rewarding and aligns with our community-focused mission. When she's not on the road, Eveny is a multi-instrumentalist and enjoys reading suspense novels.

Stacy is a veteran team member, having been with us since 2005. She has served in various roles, including as a Donor Tech and DOS/Trainer, and is currently shaping the future of SDBB in our Education Department. Stacy enjoys spending quality time with her family and aims to bring joy and laughter into every aspect of her life.

Tina is one of our long-standing team members, with almost 20 years of service. She's passionate about connecting with our donors and also donates platelets regularly. Outside of work, Tina enjoys Zumba, family time, and movie nights.

Ilse joined us in 2021 and quickly rose to the position of Mobile DOS in 2023. She's an avid gym-goer and enjoys capturing life's beautiful moments through photography. Ilse is also a theater enthusiast and loves starting or ending her days with a sunrise or sunset hike.

Carmen has been a versatile asset to our team for 10 years, currently serving as our NCW Analyst and Administrative Assistant. She's known for her hard work, creativity, and exceptional baking skills. Carmen is always willing to think outside the box and has been a wonderful addition to our NCW team.

Brianna joined us in March '22 and serves as the Donor Operations Supervisor at our Coastal Donor Center. She balances her role at SDBB with running her own small business and pursuing a nursing degree. Brianna is also a dog lover, with five rescues at home.

Priscilla has been with us for two years as a Donor Technician. She enjoys the beach, hiking, and spending quality time with her daughter. Priscilla is known for her sense of humor and finds great meaning in being part of an organization that saves lives.

Sarah has been a part of our mobile team for over a year. She finds her work rewarding and enjoys the connections she makes with our donors. In her free time, Sarah loves to read, explore nature, and cook.

Stefan has been with us for three years and appreciates the life-saving mission and positive atmosphere at SDBB. He enjoys reading, board games, and discovering new eateries when he's not at work.

Nichell has been with us for a year and serves as a bus driver in our mobiles department. She enjoys the ever-changing views her 'office window' offers and loves spending time with her family and pets. Nichell is also a fan of scary movies and exploring new restaurants.

Rayan has been a part of our team for nearly two years and serves as the Donor Operations Supervisor at our Sabre Springs Donor Center. He enjoys baking, listening to music, and is part of a book club. Rayan loves spending time with his partner and their dog, King.

Amber has seven years of experience in blood collections and values the impact she makes every day. She appreciates the inclusive and research-driven environment at SDBB. Amber looks forward to the future and enjoys working with her dedicated team.

Julia has been with us for a year at our East County Donor Center. She immigrated from Jordan four years ago and is passionately pursuing a degree in Human Biology. Julia finds her work at SDBB fulfilling and enjoys connecting with our amazing donors.

Anamaria has been with our Southern California Blood Bank division for four years. She enjoys getting to know our donors and helping them achieve their life-saving goals. Anamaria loves exploring national parks, cooking, and spending time with loved ones in her free time.

Karina has been a cherished member of our team for over 10 years. Known for her infectious laugh that can be heard from a distance, she has a knack for making both donors and colleagues feel at ease. Karina takes pride in her role and enjoys the rewarding experience of helping to save lives every day.

Madison has been a part of our mobiles team for a year and loves meeting our inspiring donors. She enjoys staying active through running and hiking and has a passion for cooking, dancing, and reading. Madison values her time with friends and family.

Paul has been with us for over 18 years and currently serves as the Driver Lead. He plays a crucial role in ensuring smooth operations between our NCW and Plant Ops teams. Paul enjoys outdoor activities like camping, four-wheeling, and fishing, and is also a talented guitarist and photographer.

Gwen, our 'Vein Whisperer,' has over 45 years of experience in the medical field, with 34 of those years spent at SDBB. She's seen many changes over the years but remains committed to our mission and the personal connections she's made. Gwen looks forward to what the future holds.

Tristan joined us 2 1/2 years ago and floats between our Mobiles and Liberty Station centers. He's known for his passion for music and is currently pursuing a nursing career. Tristan enjoys working our annual Comic-Con drive, and loves hearing the inspiring stories of why our donors choose to give.


Research Recruiters

Allow us to introduce you to Joey, Rita, Connie, and Nayeli—our exceptional team of research recruiters. These dedicated professionals are the bridge between our donors and groundbreaking research initiatives, such as the All of Us Research Program and various leukocyte collection projects. With a keen eye for detail, they masterfully coordinate appointments to align with our organizational needs. Beyond that, they extend their expertise to Patient Services, arranging therapeutic, autologous, and designated donations. Their work is instrumental in advancing both patient care and scientific research.

Research Collections

Let's shine a spotlight on our Innovation Development (IDT) Research Collections team—Lisa, Kay, John, Arlenne, Jennifer, Teara, and Diana. These Research Collectors are the linchpins in the orchestration and collection of blood for pivotal research endeavors, including the All of Us Research Program and various leukapheresis studies. Their roles extend beyond research; they also contribute to Patient Services collections. In collaboration with the UCSD Milk Bank (UCHMB), they collect maternal blood samples to ensure the safety of milk provided to infants in need.

Cord Blood Bank

Introducing Alexcia, Melina, Stephen, and Evelyn—our dynamic Cord Blood Bank team within the Innovation and Development department. Partnering with the California Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program, this trailblazing team is pivotal in the collection, coordination, processing, and global distribution of cord blood. Their work doesn't stop at collection; they are also ambassadors for cord blood donation awareness and advocacy. What makes their role truly special is the double celebration they share with donor mothers—welcoming new life into the world while simultaneously contributing to life-saving cord blood donations.

Sunday, September 3, 2023