Article published Nov 6, 2015
By Andy Clark
This year’s launch of the Gift-of-Life Marathon blood drive commemorated past achievements and added a new town to the 12 Days of Giving event.
West Rutland will join Rutland City, Rutland Town, Castleton, Fair Haven and Manchester as host sites.
Organizers from Castleton University, Green Mountain Power and Catamount Radio WJJR 98.1 unveiled a new commemorative bronze plaque at the entrance to the Paramount Theatre on Center Street.
The plaque marked the Paramount’s contributions to the national record-setting drive of 2013, as well as the end of its rotation as a blood contribution site.
The Paramount Theatre will no longer host site the blood drive. Co-organizer Steve Costello said the Paramount is “passing the torch” to allow other communities to participate, including West Rutland.
Even without the Paramount, eight of the 12 collection sites are in Rutland City and Rutland Town.
The plaque reads “The Gift-of-Life Marathon, Americas’s biggest and longest blood drive, began here in 2003. The GOLM, which encourages 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 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.”
Ryan Schmoldt, district manager for donor registration of the American Red Cross in Burlington, outlined new streamlined procedures that should help donors save time at donation sites.
The drive’s statement Thursday said, “Donors can do most of their health history before arriving at the drive, using the Red Cross’ new RapidPass. That 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/RapidPass.
Schmoldt said the drive is now a 12-day event because, now that Rutland holds the national record for a one-day event, it’s important not to keep all the eggs in one basket.
“One bad snowfall could cause a multi-site, one-day drive to suffer,” he said.
No broad sacrifices were pledged by organizers. In past years, some organizers had tattooed themselves or shaved their heads to spur people to donate blood or commemorate past events.
In Castleton, the event will take place in the president’s house living room, dining room and porch. President Dave Wolk “will personally provide free rides to anyone who needs one the day of the Castleton drive,” with a call to 468-1203, Costello said.
He said the drive plans to expand to additional towns in coming years.
The schedule for the 12-day blood drive:
Dec. 1 — 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Castleton University president’s home.
Dec. 2 — noon to 6 p.m. at the U.S. Army Reserve on Post Road in Rutland Town.
Dec. 4 — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rutland High School.
Dec. 5 — 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rutland American Legion.
Dec. 7 — noon to 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Rutland Town.
Dec. 8 — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Burr & Burton Academy in Manchester.
Dec. 9 — noon to 6 p.m. at the West Rutland Town Hall.
Dec. 10 — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Diamond Run Mall.
Dec. 11 — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rutland Elks Club.
Dec. 12 — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Alliance Community Fellowship in Howe Center.
Dec. 14 — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fair Haven Union High School.
Dec. 15 — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the College of St. Joseph gymnasium.