The future of the Gift-of-Life Marathon has been up in the air ever since the greater Rutland community crushed the national one-day blood drive record last December. It's been an amazing event for Rutland County, the Red Cross and the thousands of people who have received donated blood from the GOLM over the past 11 years. No one ever dreamed when the GOLM started that this community would accomplish even half of what it has done, in terms of blood donations and community building.
Extraordinary volunteers and donors, amazing support from local businesses, a strong relationship with the Red Cross and outstanding support from the news media have blessed the GOLM. But as the drive grew to become the largest blood drive in American history, the challenges to ensuring the event’s success became significant.
How do we ensure a positive experience for donors? How do we streamline the planning, logistics and staffing to make the drive run smoothly? How do we continue to provide a community-building experience without overwhelming Red Cross staff and resources, volunteers or donors? What needs to change to make the GOLM sustainable for the long run?
Those are among the questions WJJR, Green Mountain Power and Castleton College, the event sponsors, have been discussing with the Red Cross since January. Through numerous meetings, phone calls and discussions, we've re-examined every facet of the GOLM, from timing to locations, goals to staffing.
Through it all, our focus has been on planning an event that harkens back to the early days of the GOLM, which was simple and fun, as well as the record-setting past few years, while celebrating the unbelievable strength and determination of the greater Rutland community. We have also focused on creating donors for life, who return again and again to the GOLM and other drives.
We still have some details to work out, but on Oct. 15 at noon at the Paramount Theatre, we'll announce plans for the 2014 GOLM. We hope you can join us.