Gifts from the heart: 12 days begin

Article published Dec 3, 2014
Gifts from the heart: 12 days begin
By Bryanna Allen
CASTLETON — Halfway through donating blood Tuesday, Castleton State College junior Linsey Borst felt woozy and sick to her stomach. 

Afterward, lying on a reclining chair, her face was pale, but the smile was still there.

“I’m a nursing student who has a fear of needles,” she said, acknowledging the irony. 

“I give blood whenever I can because I want to support a good cause and get over my fear at the same time,” Borst said. 

The American Red Cross’s annual Gift of Life Marathon kicked off Tuesday at CSC President David Wolk’s house, where students, faculty and community members came through his doors to donate blood. 

This year, instead of one large event, the GOLM consists of 12 drawings on 12 days at different locations in the region through Dec. 16. The next drawing is from noon to 6 p.m. today at the U.S. Army Reserve building on Post Road in Rutland Town. Then Rutland High School will host a drawing from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and another is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Diamond Run Mall.

Chapin LaShombe, district manager for the Red Cross, said the first day has already been a success. 

“We like to tell people that each person who donates can save three lives,” she said. 

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, 76 people had come through the door to donate and another dozen or so were waiting.

“That means that so far, these people have saved roughly 228 lives. It’s incredible.”

And that number only increased.

By 6 p.m., 122 pints of blood had been collected. 

Wolk bustled around his house that was temporarily filled with nurses, volunteers, blood drawing equipment. Platters of finger sandwiches, bags of pretzels and bottles of water were available for those whose donated, each encouraged to nourish and hydrate.

Wolk is not able to donate blood himself, so instead he donated his home and his time. He drove people who needed rides back and forth so they could still donate.

“Right from the start of this event this morning, it has been a good turnout,’ he said. “And this is the first time someone has ever hosted one of these in a house. It’s kind of cool.”

Wolk wasn’t the only one who thought it was a good move to told the event in his house. 

Freshman Chris Oettinger said he had never been to the president’s house before, and thought it was a great way to check it out.

“It’s really awesome that it’s at his house, it’s a really good event to host,” he said. 

Although Oettinger has never needed blood before, he said he donates because the day might come where he does need blood. 

“You never know, something could happen; that’s why I donate,” he said.

Raymond Ladd, a Castleton resident, said he started donating years ago when his son joined the National Guard. 

“I wanted to do my part, just like my son,” he said. 

When his son died, Ladd stopped giving blood for a while. 

“But I started to again when I realized that I needed to keep giving back in any way I could.”

Ladd said he has never regretted making that choice to keep donating. 

Bonnie O’Rourke, community outreach coordinator for Green Mountain Power, one of the sponsors of GOLM, was hanging coats and welcoming people who came to donate.

“This has been a really important day, we’ve attracted a lot of people and gotten a lot of support,” she said. 

O’Rourke said the college population was one that usually seemed to produce a lot of donors. 

“This age group, and even younger, are really interested in helping out,” she said. “People of all ages realize how important it is.”