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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Rutland's Gift Of Life Marathon Gets A Makeover

Nina Keck
Rutland Gift of Life Marathon 2010 at Rutland's Paramount Theatre. Organizers announced this year that they will host 12 smaller blood drives in December.

Rutland’s record breaking Gift of Life Marathon has set the standard for one-day blood drives. But organizers say they wanted to find new ways for people to give blood at a time when supplies are often critically low.

“Instead of the biggest one day blood drive, it’s going to be the longest blood drive in American history,” organizer Steve Costello announced Wednesday at a press conference at the Paramount Theatre.

He explained that their one-day drive had simply gotten too big, becoming too costly and cumbersome. “Last year we did set a record, but it was an incredible ordeal, frankly, planning it and pulling it off and one thing going wrong could have put the whole thing in trouble.”

Credit Nina Keck / VPR
Gift of Life organizers Terry Jay of Mix 98.1 WJJR Radio and Steve Costello of Green Mountain Power mug for the camera at the 2010 Gift of Life Marathon in Rutland.

So this year, organizers are hosting 12 separate, smaller drives starting Dec. 2 at Castleton State College, and finishing Dec. 16 at the Paramount Theatre.

“It really solves a lot of the logistical challenges by spreading it out over time and distance,” said Costello. “We’re hosting over the whole county really and in as many places and times as we could.”

Organizer Terry Jay of WJJR Radio expects that will make it easier for more people to take part. Last year the holiday blood drive brought in 2,350 pints.  Jay says there’s no goal this year, but with luck, they hope to bring in just as much over the 12 days.