August Philanthropy Update

Doug Morton, COO; Janet Villa, Director of Research and NCW; Karen Mower, Director NCW; David Wellis, CEO and Jason Morton, IT Administrator volunteered time away from SDBB’s Headquarters to help process 3,343 blood components at the 43rd Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive at Comic Con during #SDCC19.

Doug Morton, COO; Janet Villa, Director of Research and NCW; Karen Mower, Director NCW; David Wellis, CEO and Jason Morton, IT Administrator volunteered time away from SDBB’s Headquarters to help process 3,343 blood components at the 43rd Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive at Comic Con during #SDCC19.



We are proud to announce that the 43rd Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive at Comic-Con held July 17-21 collected 3,343 units of blood products, breaking last years’ record of 2,804 units to become the most successful blood drive held at Comic-Con to date and impacting up to 10,029 patient lives!

SDBB began the blood drive on preview day which extended the drive from four to five days. This extra day allowed us to register 400 more donors than last year and collect 20% more blood, shattering our goal of 3,000 donors! Thank you! 

In addition to our superhero blood donors, we want to especially thank our volunteers, street team members, lab techs, drivers, nurses and SDBB staff who worked overtime to make the drive such a success. 

We are truly thankful for our partnership with Comic-Con and to every donor who helped us collect and distribute a robust blood supply during the summer months when the blood supply is at a critical low due to factors like summer vacations. With blood drives at events like Comic-Con, SDBB can boost its blood supply for local hospitals to meet the medical needs of our community. 

Enjoy this month’s philanthropy update and thank you for your continued support of our mission–Saving Lives Today. Improving Life Tomorrow. 

With gratitude,


David Wellis, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer

Sherry Serio
Vice President of Development



#SDCC19 #SDBloodbank

#SDCC19 #SDBloodbank

Thank you to all the generous blood donors who showed up to give the gift of life.

Each year, Ella Martinez and her family enjoy Comic-Con and stop by the annual blood drive to personally thank blood donors for their lifesaving gift.

Ella receives blood transfusions every 2 weeks to treat a rare form of anemia called Thalassemia. Blood transfusions keep her healthy and able to enjoy fun experiences like Comic-Con for years to come. At 11 years of age, she is no stranger to gratitude. As a member of SDBB's "Team Survivor" program, she attends blood drives regularly to meet the blood donors who extend their generosity to save others.




8 Simple Steps to Calm Anxiety and Relax with Breathing Exercises and Meditation

When we feel stressed or anxious, it's not uncommon for our breath to become shallow—we may even feel like we're holding our breath. As you can guess, this doesn't help when trying to relieve anxiety. Whether you're out and about or sitting at a desk, you'll be able to do this exercise and hopefully, find yourself in a more peaceful state. Learn from Sarah Bowen about an easy way to engage with our breath and become aware of our inner state.

Most of the time, we breathe without thinking about it. Our bodies have the amazing ability to keep us breathing involuntarily without much effort. Ordinarily, we only spend time consciously thinking about our breaths if we have health problems (like COPD, sleep apnea, or bronchitis) or are super active (perhaps running a 5K, getting immersed in hot yoga, or summiting our favorite mountain).

Healthwise, research shows that slow, focused breaths can lower stress and anxiety, improve coping skills, help people deal with substance abuse, improve our general sense of well-being, and boost our self-esteem. Spiritually, conscious breathing can help slow the mind and get us in touch with a more expansive consciousness. In fact, there's a long lineage of this spiritual practice—mainly out of the Buddhist, Taoist, and Vedic traditions—to connect us to our vital life force, also known as Qi (pronounced chee), or prana.

The following exercise is based on a Zen counting meditation. It's pleasantly—and positively—addictive.

  1. Silence your phone, computer, or anything around you that might ring, ding, or vibrate.

  2. Sit so that your back is straight, allowing for natural movement of the breath within your body. No, you don't need to invest in a fancy meditation cushion. A chair works just fine.

  3. Make your eyes comfortable. This practice can be done with your eyes closed, or with your gaze softly resting on a spot on the floor, a live plant, or a shimmering candle. It's important to keep your eyes resting rather than staring sharply, looking around, or otherwise bringing distractions to your mind.

  4. Pay attention to your breath. Notice your belly rising and falling, the movements in your chest, and the passing of thoughts as they come and go, like clouds across the sky.

  5. Count each breath silently in your mind. At the end of the inhale, count one. At the end of the exhale, count two. Continue until you get to five. If you hit six, notice that your mind has wandered, then gently pull it back to one. If you find yourself wondering what is for dinner, gently pull yourself back to one. If you feel irritated at the noise coming from the room next to you, start again at one. Avoid judging the wandering. It's totally normal. Our minds are made to think, and they will think—around 50,000 thoughts a day! Just direct yourself to counting one, two, three, four, five.

  6. Feel your awareness sharpen. After you've been counting for a while, you may hear sounds around you more distinctly, you may feel the temperature (or weather) more precisely. Stay with the breath.

  7. Return to your day slowly. When you are done, avoid jumping up quickly to check your texts or social feed. Move as if your body is on half speed, easing into activity slowly and deliberately.

  8. Repeat throughout the day. How often? Whenever you need a little peace. Breathing addictions are healthy addictions.



Source: Based on excerpts from Spiritual Rebel: A Positively Addictive Guide to Finding Deeper Perspective & Higher Purpose by Sarah Bowen with the permission of Monkfish. Article sourced from MindBodyGreen, “Feeling Overwhelmed? Try This Simple Relaxing Exercise” published on June 3, 2019.




A Trima system separates whole blood into platelets, plasma, and red blood cells through a process called apheresis. Through a safe, closed-loop system, the components of blood that are not needed are returned to the donor, resulting in less fluid loss and more specialized blood products for specific patient needs. See how it works below!



To date, we have raised $136,054 of the $504,000 needed to purchase 14 new Trima systems.   

There are only 152 days left in 2019!   

If you are planning to make a tax-deductible gift this year, please consider making a gift in support of San Diego Blood Bank’s Campaign for Life to help fund Trima systems. 
It is a team effort to save lives and the generous gifts that San Diego Blood Bank financial donors have provided throughout this process has been remarkable and is greatly appreciated.



Did you know that San Diego Blood Bank’s impact is global? 

The need for a diverse blood supply is a global one as well. When patients have a rare blood type and have specific genetic traits, finding matching blood donors can mean life or death. We are in the business of saving lives and are part of a global initiative to support any call for blood if we can provide it to save a life.  

View a snippet of a letter addressed to David Wellis, SDBB CEO, received from OneBlood about an international search to find matching blood donors for a young patient in South Florida.  

Photo courtesy of OneBlood

Photo courtesy of OneBlood

“Thank you for your partnership in helping find rare blood donors for three-year-old Zainab, the South Florida girl battling neuroblastoma who has some of the rarest blood in the world. Finding compatible donors for Zainab has been an industry-wide effort and we want you to know how grateful we are for the support and help that the San Diego Blood Bank has provided.

OneBlood made Zainab’s story public on December 3, 2018 and the story went viral the same day. Global media coverage followed and as a result, more than 25,000 people who meet the donation criteria to be a potential match for Zainab responded wanting to donate for her.

The collective efforts of OneBlood, the American Rare Donor Program and the entire blood banking community has resulted in five compatible donors for Zainab. Two of the donors were found in the United States, two in the United Kingdom and one in Australia. To date, OneBlood has performed compatibility testing on more than 4,000 donations.

It is a team effort to save lives and the help of San Diego Blood Bank has provided throughout this process has been remarkable and is greatly appreciated. On behalf of OneBlood, Zainab’s parents and her doctors, thank you for your lifesaving partnership.”

Read more about Zainab’s story.




At San Diego Blood Bank, one of our primary roles is to support community health. From helping to ensure a safe blood supply for patients in local hospitals to providing health markers via our Wellness Tracker for blood donors, we are committed to partnering with San Diegans in prevention and treatment.

As such, we believe wellness starts from within. Our Executive Team took an Orangetheory Fitness class together on Friday, July 26th—knowing that healthy leaders can better support community health!


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In partnership with our community, San Diego Blood Bank Foundation is the fundraising entity that supports critical resources for blood donations, advances San Diego Blood Bank’s critical healthcare role, and fuels collaboration with cutting-edge research and clinical organizations to advance cell therapy and precision medicine.