On November 22, 2016

Gift of Life Marathon begins Tuesday, for 12 days of giving

Nov. 29-Dec. 13—RUTLAND COUNTY—Continuing its expansion to communities across the region, Rutland’s record-breaking blood drive added another host town for 2016. 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 Gift of Life Marathon (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.
With the new lineup, the GOLM has seven host communities, and organizers plan to expand to more towns in coming years.
“In addition to saving lives, the GOLM has always been about bringing together the greater-Rutland community,” said Green Mountain Power Vice President Steve Costello, one of the organizers. “Adding new towns to the lineup gives residents and workers in those communities an opportunity to donate and participate with less travel, and build community bonds where they live and work.”
Catamount Radio’s Terry Jaye, a West Rutland native, said the addition of his hometown last year stoked excitement in the community and drew nearly 100 donors.  He’s hoping for another good year in West Rutland, and for solid numbers from Pittsford, which is hosting part of the drive for the first time.
“I was proud of the turnout in Westside, and I’m looking forward to another great year there and in all seven communities that host the GOLM,” Jaye said. “The bonds that have developed over the past 13 years have helped support not only the blood drive, but all kinds of other efforts to improve the quality of life in our communities.”
Castleton University, which became a lead sponsor and organizer in 2013, creates a special atmosphere for the kickoff to the 12-day drive.
“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.
Wolk will personally provide free rides to anyone who needs one the day of the Castleton drive, which can be arranged by calling 802-468-1203.
GOLM donors can do most of their health history before arriving at the drive, using the Red Cross’ RapidPass. RapidPass offers donors a way to complete their pre-reading and donation questions online, 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. More information is available at redcrossblood.org/Rapid/Pass.
Appointments, which are strongly encouraged, may be made by calling 800-RED-CROSS or visiting redcrossblood.org.

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