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1,954 people donated blood in Rutland’s Gift of Life Marathon, the record for participation in U.S. history; community misses record for pints by 14

Rutland now holds the second- and third-largest blood drives in U.S. history, and the Red Cross confirmed that the GOLM included the largest number of individual donors ever to participate in a U.S. community blood drive, with 1,954 people.

Manchester's record-breaking drive featured 1,834 individual donors, 120 fewer, but many made double-red cell donations, which count as two pints apiece. (We did not offer double-red cell donations largely because the older buildings we use for the drive aren't optimal for the equipment needs that requires.)

On Thursday, Dec. 20 the final numbers for pints donated from Tuesday's Gift-of-Life Marathon were received. The final count: 1,954 pints, just 14 short of the national record set by Manchester, N.H at 1,968 pints.

"We missed the record by 7/10ths of 1 percent," said Steve Costello.

The GOLM featured 329 first-time donors, a longtime focus of the drive's efforts, about one in six donors, including dozens of 16-year-olds, who were allowed to donate this year after new legislation passed earlier this year.

Terry Jaye from WJJR and Steve Costello from GMP, co-organizers, plan to meet with the Red Cross next month to discuss the future of the GOLM, which will continue in 2013.  The drive will be smaller next year, but WJJR, Green Mountain Power and the Red Cross are all committed to holding a fun, meaningful and spirit-filled drive next December and in the years ahead. This tradition will continue even if the goals are somewhat smaller in the future.

"We want to thank everyone who helped out in any way, whether donating gift items, donating blood, volunteering or offering logistical support," said Costello on Thursday. "As organizers, we could not be more proud of Rutland and the greater Rutland community. Record or no record, we did something amazing together, and we have nothing but pride in what the community accomplished."