RUTLAND—With opening day of the Gift-of-Life Marathon–12 Days of Giving barely a week away, organizers today issued an urgent appeal for blood donors.
“Appointments are lagging, with well less than half the number of appointments we’d like for the first several days of the event, which starts next week,” said Green Mountain Power Vice President Steve Costello, one of the organizers. “It’s not clear why the numbers are off, but an earlier start this year may be one factor.”
As the drive moved from a one-day mega-drive into a 12-day event, the first day has landed roughly three to four weeks before Christmas in recent years. In the past, the GOLM was held between Dec. 15 and 22.
Co-organizer Terry Jaye from Catamount Radio said each year brings a new challenge for the GOLM—from huge goals to possible complacency this year.
“When we were shooting for the national record, it was actually easier to get people to sign up,” Jaye said. “But the need is just as significant now, and we have hundreds of available appointments at sites across the county. We’re hopeful that people will come forward and make appointments right away.”
Castleton University, which became a lead sponsor and organizer in 2013, will host the first day of the drive at the home of President Dave Wolk on Alumni Drive in Castleton. The Nov. 29 event runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“The house becomes a beehive of activity, with every inch of the main floor dedicated to the effort,” Wolk said. “We host a lot of events over the course of the year, and this is one of the most important.”
“It’s an opportunity to demonstrate what we teach—that each student can make a difference in the university as they prepare to make a difference in the world,” Wolk said.
Pittsford will join Rutland City, Rutland Town, Castleton, Fair Haven, Manchester and West Rutland as host sites for the 2016 event, billed as the longest blood drive in the United States. The GOLM holds the record for the largest blood drive in American history, collecting 2,350 pints in one day in 2013. The drive transitioned into a 12-day event in 2014.
The Gift-of-Life Marathon–12 Days of Giving will be held at the times and locations listed below. Appointments, which are strongly encouraged, may be made by calling 800-RED-CROSS or visiting redcrossblood.org.
Times and locations
Nov. 30, noon to 6 p.m. at U.S. Army Reserve on Post Road in Rutland Town
Dec. 2, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Rutland High School
Dec. 3, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. at the American Legion in Rutland
Dec. 5, noon- 6 p.m. at West Rutland Town Hall
Dec. 6, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester
Dec. 7, noon-6 p.m. at Holiday Inn in Rutland Town
Dec. 8, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. at the Diamond Run Mall
Dec. 9, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Fair Haven Union High School
Dec. 10, 10 a.m. -3 p.m. at Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church in Pittsford (by the fish hatchery)
Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Rutland Elks Club
Dec. 13, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at College of St. Joseph
GOLM donors can do most of their health history before arriving at the drive, using the Red Cross’s RapidPass. RapidPass offers donors a way to complete their pre-reading and donation questions online in the comfort and privacy of their homes or offices, reducing the time they spend at blood drives by as much as 15 minutes. It must be done the day of the donation. Visit redcrossblood.org/Rapid/Pass for info.