San Diego Blood Bank Celebrates 70th Anniversary

On September 11, 1950, San Diego Blood Bank was officially founded to serve those in need while brining the community together. For the last seven decades, SDBB has been an indispensable part of San Diego and has saved countless lives around the nation.

San Diego Blood Bank is “dedicated to community health by providing a reliable supply of blood to patients in need.” Their founding and continued vision is to “ensure the health of our community by simultaneously delivering related health and wellness education and services and extending into research.”

In 1954, San Diego Blood Bank began serving Sharp HealthCare, and has been doing so ever since. They supported the early development of open-heart surgery in San Diego in the 1960s. At that time, several pints of blood were necessary simply to prime heart-lung machines. Many of these life-saving procedures wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of SDBB.

During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, SDBB responded to a request by the Department of Defense for weekly blood shipments. The San Diego Chargers Blood Drive set the first Guinness World Record for “largest single-day, single-location blood drive” for surpassing 1,853 donations. By 1998, the Chargers Drive had increased collections 38% with a record of 2,549 donations, with the help of San Diego Blood Bank.

While San Diego Blood Bank was preparing to celebrate another anniversary on September 11, 2001, tragedy ensued on the other side of the country. Upon hearing the unthinkable news of the attacks on the World Trade Center, San Diego Blood Bank worked with the U.S. Navy to immediately clear its shelves and sent 380 pints of blood to New York City. Blood from local donors was the first to arrive on the scene that day. On 9/11 and in the subsequent days, donors lined up to give blood, with many waiting in line for several hours. By the end of the week, more than 3,000 people had donated. That day, perhaps more than any other, revealed the true character of San Diego Blood Bank.

“As we remember this day for being both our founding day and a day we will never forget, we are reminded of how blood donation connects our community to something bigger than ourselves,” said San Diego Blood Bank CEO David Wellis. “Donating blood connects people to life. We are proud of 70 years of Saving Lives Today and Improving Life Tomorrow and look forward to the next 70 years.”

In total, San Diego Blood Bank has collected nearly four million blood donations from volunteer blood donors—a staggering debt that speaks volumes to the generosity of San Diegans and the brilliant service of SDBB.

For more information about SDBB, visit SanDiegoBloodBank.org