On July 16, 2014

Gift-of-Life Summer Mini Marathon returns for third year

Tuesday, July 22 at 12 p.m. — RUTLAND — Fresh off a national-record-setting drive in December, Rutland’s Gift-of-Life Summer Mini Marathon Blood Drive returns for a third run this summer, aiming to boost regional blood supplies cut short by donor travel and school vacations.
“With the glow of December’s record-setting drive still warming hearts, we’re hoping for a great event to help ensure adequate supplies during the critical summer period,” said organizer Steve Costello from Green Mountain Power. “This is a really tough time to collect blood, with people traveling and schools out of session, which makes the Mini Marathon an important event for the Red Cross and patients who need blood.”
The Gift-of-Life Summer Mini Marathon will be held Tuesday, July 22, from 12-noon to 6 p.m., at the Paramount Theatre. Appointments, which are strongly suggested, may be made by calling 800-RED-CROSS or by visiting www.redcrossblood.org. 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.
“Over the past two years, this drive has become an important event, and a great complement to the GOLM,” said WJJR Program Director Terry Jaye, co-organizer of the event. “Besides the holiday period in December, mid-summer brings the greatest challenge to the blood supply, which never takes a vacation.”
The event is sponsored by GMP and WJJR, with support from the Paramount Theatre.
The summer drive is a spinoff from Rutland’s Gift-of-Life Marathon, held each December. The GOLM began in 2003, when 368 pints were collected. The GOLM broke the national one-day blood drive record of 1,968 pints last December, collecting 2,350 pints of blood.
Sixteen-year-olds are eligible to donate blood in Vermont. Parents may accompany their children to the drive, or may go online, print and sign a consent form, and 16-year-olds can bring the document to the drive. The form is at www.redcrossblood.org/students/sixteen/nne. All presenting donors must present a photo ID or Red Cross donor card.
Jaye and Costello said plans are already under way for the 2014 GOLM in December, though they gave few clues about this year’s event.
“We agreed with the Red Cross that last year’s drive would be the last one-day mega-drive in New England,” Costello said. “But we are contemplating something that will continue the Rutland region’s amazing Gift-of-Life Marathon tradition in a meaningful way for years to come.”
Said Jaye: “People should expect the unexpected. We have heard from a lot of people who want to be sure the drive is big, fun and helps save a lot of lives, and working with the Red Cross, that will be our focus.”

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