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MEET ROGER: A Blood Donor Dedicated to Lifesaving Research...for the Long Haul


Roger Barnett drives more than 170 miles from Yuma, AZ, to participate in lifesaving research at San Diego Blood Bank. When he arrives, he is greeted by friendly SDBB team members he has gotten to know over the years, and he gets really comfortable. Donating to research has become a passion for Roger. Each time, it takes about 4 hours and requires both arms to collect white blood cells needed for a leukemia research project. 

A native San Diegan, Roger has been donating blood since the 1970s and fondly remembers the 4th and Upas San Diego Blood Bank location. Over the years, he transitioned from donating whole blood to platelets. Eventually he learned about SDBB’s many research opportunities and soon transitioned to donating blood purely for research. After moving out to Arizona three years ago, he knew he couldn’t abandon his passion and commitment to leukemia research.  

“People ask me, ‘Roger, what do you get out of it?’ and I always say, that’s just it. It’s not about me. I like the people at SDBB and I think the most amazing part, the satisfying part of this is imaging the ripple effect of what my donation could create.” 

Roger also expressed his hope that more people will look for any opportunity to participate in research projects especially ones at San Diego Blood Bank.  

Right now, there are research studies like the All of Us Research Program and cancer research programs at San Diego Blood Bank among others. Blood donors have even signed up to participate in COVID-19 research this past year through SDBB's partner LunaDNA. 

Roger is an example of commitment and service, and he does not feel any burden. The drive out to San Diego is a welcome one. When he arrives to “save lives” he is once again back home and surrounded by staff who call him family. 

“Down the line by donating my time and my blood – that it could help find a cure or treat someone in need – It’s really an incredible thing. I may never meet them or know them, but I put it out there in the world. I feel good knowing that I’ve been able to give something of myself – human to another human.” 

To learn more about how you can participate in research with the San Diego Blood Bank, learn.lunadna.com/sdbb.