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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 blood to research has become a passion for Roger. Each time, the donation process takes about 4 hours and requires both arms to collect white blood cells needed for this 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 donating platelets. Eventually he learned about San Diego Blood Bank's many research opportunities for blood donors and began donating blood in support of medical and cancer research. After moving from San Diego to Arizona three years ago, Roger knew he couldn’t abandon his passion and commitment to leukemia research and his San Diego Blood Bank family.

“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 hopes that more people will look for opportunities to participate in research projects especially ones at San Diego Blood Bank that make it easy and convenient to participate in research initiatives that help advance healthcare.

Right now, blood donors can participate in research studies like the All of Us Research Program and blood 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 a prime example of a blood donor who is committed to 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 through donating blood, plasma and platelets with the San Diego Blood Bank, check out LunaDNA and sign up to join the All of Us Research Program.