About 30 people gathered outside the Paramount Theatre Thursday, Nov. 5, at 12-noon, for a press conference on the 13th annual Gift-of-Life-Marathon and the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the Paramount’s contributions to the national-record-setting drive.
RUTLAND– With an eye toward creating an even greater regional impact, Rutland’s record-breaking blood drive will add a new host town this year–and is honoring the site where the Gift-of-Life Marathon started 12 years ago.
West Rutland will join Rutland City, Rutland Town, Castleton, Fair Haven and Manchester as host sites for the 2015 event, billed as the longest blood drive in the United States. The GOLM also holds the record for the biggest blood drive in American history, collecting 2,350 pints in one day in 2013.
The Paramount Theatre, which has hosted the GOLM since the start, is passing the torch to allow others to become a host site, including West Rutland. Organizers plan to expand to more towns in coming years.
Organizers from Castleton University, Green Mountain Power and Catamount Radio unveiled a bronze plaque honoring the Paramount’s contributions to the national-record-setting drive and thanked Paramount officials for their contributions to the GOLM.
“The Gift-of-Life Marathon, America’s biggest and longest blood drive, began here in 2003,” the plaque reads. “The GOLM, which bred community spirit, collaboration and goodwill in its early years at The Paramount Theatre, grew into a multi-site event that helped save thousands of lives. Thanks to incredible collaboration between organizers, The Paramount Theatre, other host sites, the American Red Cross and the greater Rutland community, the Gift-of-Life Marathon set the national one-day record for a blood drive, collecting 2,350 life-giving pints on Dec. 17, 2013. This plaque is presented by organizers to honor The Paramount Theatre and the community at large.”
“As it is in the larger sense of community, the Paramount has been an extraordinary part of the Gift-of-Life Marathon,” GMP Vice President Steve Costello said. “Today’s passing of the torch allows the collaboration that gave birth to the GOLM to continue to expand.”
Catamount Radio’s Terry Jaye, a West Rutland native, said he was thrilled to have the community’s town hall as a host site. “I’m excited to give Westside residents the opportunity to play a lead role in the GOLM’s future, and show off the sense of community that makes West Rutland such a special place,” Jaye said. “I think it will be good for the blood drive and West Rutland, just as it has been for Rutland City and the other host communities.”
Wolk, who signed Castleton on as a lead organizer and sponsor in 2013, along with GMP and WJJR, said opening day of the drive will have the feel of a family party, block party and blood drive wrapped into one. “Our family room will be the waiting room, the porch will host the collection, and the dining room will serve as the canteen,” Wolk said. “The Castleton University community will roll up its sleeves, literally and figuratively, to get the 12 Days of Giving off to a great start, and we welcome everyone to join us.”
Wolk will personally provide free rides to anyone who needs one the day of the Castleton drive, which can be arranged by calling 468-1203.
For the first time, GOLM donors can do most of their health history before arriving at the drive, using the Red Cross’ new RapidPass. RapidPass offers donors a way to complete their pre-reading and donation questions online from 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 www.redcrossblood.org/Rapid/Pass.
Appointments, which are strongly encouraged, may be made by calling 800-RED-CROSS or visiting www.giftoflifemarathon.com. While supplies last, donors will receive gifts from Casella Waste Management, Castleton University, Efficiency Vermont, Green Mountain Power, Heritage Family Credit Union, Killington Resort, Phoenix Books, Rutland Regional Medical Center, and Thrive Center of the Green Mountains.