(Host) Organizers of the annual gift of life Marathon in Rutland hope to set a new record today and host the largest blood drive in the nation.
As VPR’s Nina Keck reports, close to two thousand people will need to role up their sleeves to do it.
(Keck) Steve Costello, one of the organizers of the event, stands on the stage of Rutland’s Paramount Theatre surrounded by a sea of plastic lounge chairs. It’s quiet now, but later today, every one of those chairs will be filled with someone donating blood.
(Costello) "We have nearly 2,000 appointments for the drive but that doesn’t mean this is a slam dunk. "
(Keck) To set a new national record they’ll have to bring in 1,969 pints of blood. Costello says typically about 10 percent of those who sign up don’t show. Another 5 or 6 percent will be turned away for one reason or another.
(Costello) "So we really need – besides the people with appointments, to bring in another 300 or so people to the three sites to really have a shot at breaking the national record."
(Keck) Unlike past years, two additional donation sites have been added – one at the College of St. Josephs and the other at the American Legion. Costello says Red Cross workers have come from five states to staff the event with about 200 local volunteers.
(Costello) "There’s just been a tremendous amount of work over the last two days in particular but really over the last few months planning this thing and making sure we were ready for hopefully a crowd of over 2000 people."
(Keck) The weather was a big question mark, but Costello says even that seems to be cooperating.
For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.
(Host) Rutland’s ninth annual Gift of Life Marathon runs today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.