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How One Volunteer is Saving Lives

When it comes to saving lives, Kendra is an inspiration. Take a look at her Instagram, and you’ll instantly get a sense of her dedication to doing something amazing in this world. She documents her experiences as a blood donor through her posts and advocates in each one for others to do the same. She has garnered attention from peers and a former neighbor, who went on to donate blood or was reminded to make an appointment to do so. Giving blood is something Kendra has done with her mom (on her mom’s birthday) and friends, giving light to the belief that giving is better when you’re giving together.

We recently sat down with Kendra to hear about why she does what she does as an ambassador of social good. If you’ve never donated blood, Kendra’s story should serve as encouragement. If you’ve donated before, Kendra may just inspire you to donate blood each time you’re eligible to so.

Kendra, originally from Fremont, California, is on her last year at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) as a mechanical engineering major. Not only is Kendra an A+ blood donor, she’s an A+ person all around. When she’s not studying up a storm, she’s developing her faith and participating in theater. She is currently the Production Stage Manager of UCSD’s Muir Musical and is helping to coordinate this year’s musical, Spring Awakening. To add to Kendra’s list of extracurricular efforts, she’s a volunteer with us at the San Diego Blood Bank (SDBB) and most of all, a dedicated blood donor.

The first time Kendra started donating blood was at a SDBB blood drive at UCSD in 2012. Her experience was so positive that she kept coming back to donate. The more consistent she became with donating, the more she started to realize how there’s always a need for blood. She believes, “We have the power to fulfill that need, so why wouldn’t we?” When Kendra discovered blood donation recipients in her own life—like her grandma, cousin, and friend—her lifesaving efforts were affirmed. Donating blood, to Kendra, is an easy and meaningful way to make a real difference in someone’s life right away.

The next area of donating blood that Kendra wanted to take up was donating platelets. After researching which blood donations can have the most or immediate impact on hospital patients, donating platelets proved to be a good choice for her blood type.  However anyone chooses to donate, the SD Blood Bank recognizes blood donors whenever they reach a five gallon milestone. Kendra is currently at 4.75 gallons with a milestone just around the corner.

Recently, Kendra learned she is no longer able to donate platelets. In an Instagram post, she noted:​

That’s dedication. Because hospital patients always need blood, Kendra’s willingness to give regardless of the matter is applaudable.

If you’ve never donated blood and you have some fears, Kendra offers some advice. For one, “It’s not that hard to do and it’s not painful. It’s just a little pinch.” Another concern for some is the time it takes to donate blood. For Kendra, it’s all about preparation. When you plan accordingly, having your blood drawn can be a pleasant experience. When Kendra donates blood at our Donor Centers, it’s her Me Time and that involves the chance to watch something engaging on Netflix, chat with our friendly nurses, read a book, and relax.

When you’re persistent about donating blood, saving lives becomes a habit and a passion stirs. Kendra shows us giving blood is simple and helpful to do for hospital patients in need. Save lives and make an appointment to donate blood. After all, you never know whose life you’re going to save.


Written by Rizalyn Vargas, Communications Representative of the San Diego Blood Bank