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A Valentine's Day Record: Tehachapi blood drive draws more donors than ever before

The blood drive on Wednesday had the most units of blood donated in on day since the City started holding regular blood drives in 2018
Posted at 5:29 PM, Feb 14, 2024
  • Video shows the record-breaking blood drive on Valentine's Day in Tehachapi.
  • As the country deals with a nationwide blood shortage, Houchin Community Blood Bank says donations are critical.
  • This blood drive was the City's first of 2024, and they say it broke the record for the most units of blood donated since they began holding blood drives back in 2018.


This Valentine's Day, the mountain community is giving back to the people in Kern County as Tehachapi hosts the first blood drive of 2024 here in town.

In 2023, the City says they held six blood drives and had over 325 people donate blood, which they say is around 50 people each drive.

This Valentine's Day drive, the city says they broke a record. They say they had 80 units of blood, plus 18 combined units of platelets and plasma. This broke their previous record of 66 units.

"This will be the largest blood drive we've ever had in Tehachapi in our history," said coordinator Key Budge.

Dillon Nunamaker, an account coordinator with Houchin Blood Bank says one donation could save up to three lives, and it's needed now more than ever.

23ABC Neighborhood News Reporter Grace Laverriere interviewing Dillon Nunamaker an account coordinator with Houchin Blood Bank
23ABC Neighborhood News Reporter Grace Laverriere interviewing Dillon Nunamaker an account coordinator with Houchin Blood Bank

In January, the Red Cross declared an emergency blood shortage nationwide, citing the lowest number of donors in 20 years.

Donations made at this blood drive, and others Houchin travels to across the county, go directly to local hospitals in Kern County.

'We're constantly running out every week," Nunamaker said. "We're trying to keep up with the need and make sure that all of the local hospitals are supplied with blood."

In addition to traditional blood donations, people can also sign up to donate platelets and plasma. Houchin says those donations directly support burn victims and cancer patients.

Coordinator Key Budge says offering these donations is highly important.

"This means a lot to me," Budge said. "How the platelets and plasma impact cancer patients and burn victims…it's just critical that we donate in any way that we can."

It's a longer process that Houchin says could take up to two hours depending on the donor.

Stephanie Howard says she has donated her plasma, platelets, and time every eight weeks for the past couple of years.

"I'm really glad I can do it because the platelets can help cancer patients," Howard said. "I found out that my uncle had cancer and that he had to receive platelets. I found that out after I started donating, but that made it all the more special."

Howard says she encourages people who are interested in donating to try it.

"A lot of people have good intentions, and sometimes you may not have money or food or clothes to donate, but everyone has blood. so, try it."

For information on upcoming blood drives, the City of Tehachapi says they will post those on their website and social media. For information on upcoming Houchin blood drives, or to make an appointment to donate, visit their website.

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