Big Blood Drive in Rutland Shy of National Record

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(Host)  Hundreds of people turned out to give blood at Rutland’s annual Gift of Life Marathon.  

But as VPR’s Nina Keck reports, the estimated tally of 1,800 pints fell short of a national record:

(Red Cross workers)  "Merry Christmas to you. You did a beautiful job."

(Keck) It was well after 10 p.m. and most of the Red Cross workers were packing up and leaving the Paramount Theatre when Steve Costello finally conceded that the national record was out of reach.   

(Costello) "We’re obviously a little disappointed we didn’t make the goal, but we did give 1,800 people an opportunity for an improved life or saving their lives. At least 1,800 because the blood can go to more than one person."

(Keck) To beat the one-day record set by Manchester, New Hampshire this fall, Rutland needed to collect 1,969 units of blood. While that didn’t happen, Costello says he’s thrilled that they brought in 400 pints more than last year.

(Costello) It’s a huge number – we’re talking – we have the second largest blood drive in America (laughs) instead of the largest – and I think we have to be happy with that for now and in the light of day take a look at what we can do next time."

(Keck) Brandon resident Michael Carr was one of over 200 volunteers who helped out at the event.  While he says setting a national record would be nice. 

(Carr) "You know, does it really matter if we don’t? People are here to volunteer their time and volunteer their blood and to do it in a spirit of Christmas. I’m glad we do this Christmas week every year I think it gets people off to thinking the right sort of thing for the holiday."

(Keck) Organizers point out that Rutland County can still take pride in knowing that per capita – they give blood more than three times the national average.    

For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.

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