Local News

2017 Mini Gift-of-Life Marathon coincides with critical need for blood donations

RUTLAND—The annual Mini Gift-of-Life Marathon is scheduled for Tuesday, July 18, from 12-6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn located at 476 Holiday Drive in Rutland.

This blood drive comes when the Red Cross is facing a critical blood shortage and is issuing an emergency call for donors of all types to give now so patients can continue to receive the lifesaving treatments they need. Blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, and more donations are needed now to replenish the blood supply.

“The summer and winter Gift-of-Life Marathons have always helped fill supplies in times of challenges,” said Steve Costello, vice president of customer care at Green Mountain Power, one of the presenting sponsors. “Our organization considers itself a part of all the communities we serve and ensuring that blood is on the shelves where it is needed, when it is needed, is just good community service.”

The summer months are among the most challenging times of the year for blood donations as regular donors delay giving while they vacation and participate in other summer activities. Blood donations have fallen short of expectations for the past two months, resulting in about 61,000 fewer donations than needed and causing a significant draw down of the Red Cross blood supply. The shortfall is the equivalent of the Red Cross not collecting any blood donations for more than four days.

“There is no substitute for volunteer donors when it comes to making sure that blood is on the shelves when it is needed,” said Terry Jaye, operations manager for Catamount Radio and co-sponsor of the Mini Gift-of-Life Marathon. “One thing that I know about the people of Vermont is that when they know there is a need, they show up, and we are counting on them this year more than ever.”

Every two seconds in the United States blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant procedures, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect nearly 14,000 blood donations every day for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.

All Mini Gift-of-Life Marathon donors will receive free pizza courtesy of Ramunto’s in Rutland (while supplies last). Individuals are encouraged to make an appointment prior to the July 18 Mini Gift-of-Life Marathon and use sponsor code “MiniGift.”

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce the time it takes to donate.

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