Plan now for summer blood drive

Plan now for summer blood drive
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer
Rutland may have already set a record, but blood drive organizers don’t want the city to rest on its laurels.

The third annual Gift of Life Summer Mini-Marathon blood drive is scheduled for noon to 6 p.m. July 22 at the Paramount Theatre.

Conceived as a way to maintain the blood supply through the year and build hype for the record-attempt mega-drives at Christmas time, the summer minidrives have smaller goals than the big ones in December — 400 pints in this case. Modest compared to the tallies in the past few winter drives, that number would still exceed the 368 pints gathered at the first Gift of Life in 2003.

To keep the process running smoothly, organizers are strongly encouraging donors to make appointments by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or by visiting Walk-ins will be taken to fill in for no-shows or given a specific time to return.

Organizers say while they will no longer stage blood drives on the scale of last year’s Gift of Life, in which more than 200 American Red Cross staff members and 300 volunteers set up at five locations gathered a national record-setting 2,350 pints of blood, the traditional holiday blood drive will continue in some form.

“I can’t tell you much,” organizer Steve Costello said regarding what that form might be. “We’re still in conversations with the Red Cross. We’re trying to find a balance between collecting as much blood as possible around the holidays and reducing the stress and logistical challenge of bringing people from other states. We want to continue the drive in a significant and meaningful way without putting undue strain on their resources.”

The event is sponsored by Green Mountain Power and WJJR with the support of the Paramount Theatre.