With the cold weather here and blood supplies dangerously low, Rutland County residents once again have an opportunity to give a truly life-changing gift — at no cost.

The Gift-of-Life Marathon (GOLM) is here to warm hearts and ensure blood supplies are available during the upcoming holidays. With four dates between now and Dec. 21, the GOLM is designed to accommodate busy lives.

The GOLM started no differently than most blood drives, though with a bigger goal than most. We collected more than 360 pints that first year and in 2013, Rutland smashed the national record, collecting 2,350 pints.

The record was cause for celebration, as people across Vermont, and even a few from New York, turned out to help save lives and establish Rutland as the blood donation champion. No one has come close to that record since, and it appears Rutland may well hold it for a long time to come.

That said, GOLM partners Green Mountain Power, Mix-98.1-WJJR and the American Red Cross all hope to encourage participation in the GOLM this year. We’re appealing to past donors to sign up and new donors to join us, as well. Together, we can help ensure an adequate blood supply through New Year’s, and celebrate Rutland’s record as we mark the fifth-anniversary year of that amazing accomplishment.

Drives will be held Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the CVPS-Leahy Education Center in Rutland Regional Medical Center; and Dec. 20 and 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the College of St. Joseph.

To make an appointment to donate, call 800-RED-CROSS or visit www.redcrossblood.org.

Steve Costello

Rutland Town

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