12 June 2013

RUTLAND, Vt. – Rutland’s Gift-of-Life Summer Mini Marathon Blood Drive will be back for a second run this summer, with organizers hoping to boost regional blood supplies cut short by donor travel and vacations.  Donors are urged to make appointments as soon as possible.

“The Gift-of-Life Summer Mini Marathon was a huge success in its first year, and we hope to replicate it and help avert what typically is an annual summertime blood shortage,” said organizer Steve Costello, vice president for generation and energy innovation at Green Mountain Power.  “The need is constant, but people’s busy summer schedules hurt blood donations every year.”

The Gift-of-Life Summer Mini Marathon will be held Tuesday, July 16, from noon to 6 p.m., at the Paramount Theatre.  Appointments, which are strongly suggested, can be made by calling 800-RED-CROSS.  Like last year, organizers hope to fill hundreds of slots via appointments, with walk-ins accepted to fill in for no-shows or given a specific time to return.  The goal is to collect 400 pints with minimal or no waiting.

“That kind of organization made last year’s event a breeze,” said WJJR Program Director Terry Jaye, co-organizer of the event.  “It went so well last year, we plan to make this an annual event.”

The event is sponsored by Green Mountain Power and WJJR, with support from the Paramount Theatre.

“Besides Christmastime, mid-summer is the hardest time to recruit blood donors,” Jaye said.  “The need doesn’t go away just because many of us take vacations.”

The summer drive is a spinoff from Rutland’s Gift-of-Life Marathon, held each December for the past decade.  The GOLM began in 2003, when 368 pints were collected.  The event broke the one-day New England community blood drive record in 2008, 2009 and 2010.  In 2011, Manchester, N.H., broke the New England and national records with 1,968 pints; Rutland collected 1,855 pints at the GOLM in 2011 and 1,955 pints last December, the second-largest community blood collection in U.S. history.

Plans for the 2013 GOLM are under discussion. “We hope to take one more shot at the national record, but no decision has been made yet,” Costello said.  “Last year’s drive went incredibly well, so we are confident we could break the record, but we’re still working on logistics to see if another record attempt is possible.”

Sixteen-year-olds are now eligible to donate blood in Vermont. Parents may accompany their children to the summer drive and sign a consent form there, or can go online, print and sign the form, and 16-year-olds can bring the signed document to the blood drive. The consent form is available at http://www.redcrossblood.org/students/sixteen/nne.

 Contact: Steve Costello (802) 793-4031