A blood drive, honoring former Rutland Herald reporter Yvonne Daley has already filled up but Daley, who is in need of blood donations every two weeks, is hoping members of the community will be inspired to give blood at one of the other drives coming up in the area.
On Wednesday, she talked about the need that inspired her daughter, Dawn Carlson, and Steve Costello, one of the organizers of the Gift of Life Marathon blood drive, to organize an event for which she is the representative.
“I have a rare bone marrow dysfunction which requires blood transfusions a couple of times a month,” she said.
Daley said she learned about the ailment more than a year ago.
“I have severe anemia so without the transfusions, I’m totally flat, so I’m dependent upon them. I’ve been very grateful that I’ve been able to get them when I need them,” she said.
On one occasion, Daley had to go to Middlebury for her transfusion, she said.
Daley was a reporter for the Herald for about 20 years, starting in the late 1970s and covered the state of Vermont. She is also an author and poet whose most recent book is “Going Up The Country: When the Hippies, Dreamers, Freaks and Radicals Moved to Vermont,” and has also written books about Sen. Jim Jeffords and Tropical Storm Irene.
For 18 years, Daley was a professor at San Francisco State University, where she is now a professor emerita in journalism.
Her husband, Chuck Clarino, who is also well known in the area as a sportswriter, wrote for the Herald for many years.
Costello said he’s known Daley for more than 35 years, from the time when he was an intern at the Rutland Herald in 1985 when he was a college sophomore.
“Yvonne was a superstar reporter there. There were a couple dozen reporters in those days and to land on the front page, you either had to be covering a murder or really break a big story. Yvonne was on the front page practically every day,” he said.
Costello said she was a great role model for him when he was a young reporter.
Daley said she goes to the Foley Cancer Center at Rutland Regional Medical Center for transfusions. The experience has been a reminder of the importance of blood donations, she said.
“You look around the room and you see people from very young to my age and you realize all of these people are dependent, in some ways, upon others if they are getting platelets or a blood infusion in order to stay healthy. I think that many of us take blood drives and blood donations for granted. We know about them, but we don’t participate because we don’t think it applies to us but if you are healthy, it does apply to you because someone that’s in a car accident or has an operation or a condition like myself, we need that blood,” she said.
Daley said her condition was serious enough that without blood infusions, after a month she wouldn’t be able to get out of bed.
Jennifer Costa, regional communications director for the American Red Cross Northern New England Region, urged Rutlanders to find a blood drive through which they could donate.
“The Red Cross is definitely still facing its worst blood shortage in over a decade. We continue to take all the steps we can to work toward getting back to those levels we would like to be at. … Typically, we like to have a five-day supply of those critical blood types, chiefly O, on the shelves and recently, we are operating at about a half-day’s supply,” she said.
The drive in Daley’s name will take place at the U.S. Army Reserve building on Post Road in Rutland Town on Feb. 25.
Daley said she plans to be at the drive when it opens at 11 a.m. Although she said she’s not sure she’ll be able to stay through the day. She said she wants to be there to thank the donors.
“I must say, I’m incredibly grateful that it filled up, and it filled up quickly,” she said.
Costello said he’s expecting the drive will collect about 100 pints.
There will also be blood drives in the area on Feb. 19 and March 12 at Rutland Regional Medical Center; Feb. 23, at Castleton University; March 9 at St. Alphonsus Church in Pittsford; March 16 at the Killington Grand Hotel; and March 18 at the Elks Lodge in Rutland.
Costello said the organizers are hoping to fill the available slots at all the drives.
Costa said she hopes donors will consider becoming regular donors but said she was already grateful for the local efforts.
“The Rutland community is fantastic. Every time there is a call for blood, the community steps up time and time again to answer that call. Typically, we will see the drives fill up in that area. The Rutland community and our donors there are just so incredibly generous with their time and their blood,” she said.