Rutland Gift of Like Marathon
To the editor:
We have just received the final numbers from the Red Cross for the Gift-of-Life Marathon. The final count is 1,954 pints, up three from the unofficial total on Tuesday night, but 14 short of the national record set by Manchester, N.H. We missed the record by 7/10 of 1 percent.
This gives Rutland the second- and third-largest blood drives in U.S. history, and the Red Cross confirmed late today that the GOLM included the largest number of individual donors ever to participate in a U.S. community blood drive, again 1,954. Manchester’s record-breaking drive featured 1,834 individual donors, 120 fewer, but many made double-red cell donations, which count as two pints apiece. (We did not offer double-red cell donations largely because the older buildings we use for the drive aren’t optimal for the equipment needs that requires.)
The GOLM featured 329 first-time donors, a longtime focus of our efforts, about one in six donors, including dozens of 16-year-olds.
Terry Jaye from WJJR, our co-organizer, and I plan to meet with the Red Cross next month to discuss the future of the GOLM, which will continue in 2013. The drive will be smaller next year, but WJJR, Green Mountain Power and the Red Cross are all committed to holding a fun, meaningful and spirit-filled drive next December and in the years ahead. This tradition will continue even if the goals are somewhat smaller in the future.
We want to thank everyone who helped out in any way, whether donating gift items, donating blood, volunteering or offering logistical support. As organizers, we could not be more proud of Rutland and the greater Rutland community. Record or no record, we did something amazing together, and we have nothing but pride in what the community accomplished.
Thanks for everything you did to help.