The gift of life marathon is set for Tuesday, the final attempt at a record breaking one-day blood drive.
But for many this day has become more than a blood drive, and a point of pride in the community. And one local supporter is sharing her story in hopes of inspiring a few new donors this year.
The morning production is over, but the work is far from done at PEG TV in Rutland.
Amanda Wheeler works as a reporter and anchor for the Rutland County Public Access station, but there is something most people do not know about her.
"I have ankylosing spondylitis," she says.
It's a big word, and a major diagnosis that she's been living with for the past three years and her pain fluctuates day to day.
"My joints get very inflamed which can cause bone fusion. It is very painful," she says.
Her immune system is basically knocked out by this disease so she needs immunoglobulin infusions -- which come from blood plasma -- to fight off the common cold.
"It takes 1,000 blood donations to make one infusion of immunoglobulin, that is just for a one time three hour infusion for one person," Wheeler says.
Blood drives are one of the ways this plasma is sourced, so Wheeler is making it her mission to get donors signed up for the gift of life marathon in Rutland this coming Tuesday.
Organizers say her story is exactly what people need to hear to get them in the door next week.
"I think Amanda's story is a really important one because it really puts a face on it," says Steve Costello with Green Mountain Power. "We are going to collect potentially 2,000 pints of blood, and where is that going to go? For most people it is an anomalous thing, it just disappears."
Costello says every year the focus is on first time donors to keep up with blood supply demands.
"Once you get them to try it one time they get over the fear and uncertainty about what it's going to be like. It's really a painless and simple process and then they are apt to come back time and time again," Costello says.
Wheeler cannot donate this year but she will be there. She says it is an atmosphere and energy level you cannot explain until you experience it for yourself. The Red Cross is putting an end to one-day-record attempts after this year's blood drive, but Wheeler hopes the enthusiasm to donate will stay the same even if the event changes.
"I just want people to be aware of what they can do to help. It's not about sympathy, and more about education," she says.
The Red Cross is still accepting appointments for next week's blood drive at 4 different locations throughout the city.
Saturday, December 7 2013 9:24 AM EST2013-12-07 14:24:20 GMT
"St. Johnsbury has enough to offer that you don't get too bored," says resident Riley Barter. She has a new appreciation for the place she calls home. "I guess I never realized how unique St. JohnsburyMore >>
Hundreds of St. Johnsbury Academy seniors take risks with their Capstone projects.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 9:12 AM EST2013-12-07 14:12:35 GMT
In Burlington's Old North End there are still hints of what used to be -- a bustling Little Jerusalem years go. But one symbol of the area's past is not so obvious."It's priceless, it literally is oneMore >>
In Burlington's Old North End there are still hints of what used to be -- a bustling Little Jerusalem years go. But one symbol of the area's past is not so obvious.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:32 AM EST2013-12-07 13:32:27 GMT
If you're lucky, you may have seen a snowy owl in Vermont. Researchers say the birds are traveling even farther south than usual -- some even as far south as North Carolina. We spotted one Friday afternoonMore >>
Researchers say snowy owls are traveling even farther south than usual, and that means more sightings here in Vermont.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 7:51 AM EST2013-12-07 12:51:22 GMT
South Burlington police say a shoplifter tried to hide her drugs by swallowing them at the police station. Police arrested Diana Matt Friday night at the University Mall Kohl's for allegedly stealingMore >>
South Burlington police say a shoplifter tried to hide her drugs by swallowing them at the police station.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 7:49 AM EST2013-12-07 12:49:56 GMT
Police in Brattleboro are looking for the driver of a car that hit and killed a pedestrian Friday night. Police say, just after 7 p.m., the car struck the man at Western Avenue and Union Street and thenMore >>
Police in Brattleboro are looking for the driver of a car that hit and killed a pedestrian Friday night.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 11:16 PM EST2013-12-07 04:16:55 GMT
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over. The incident happened on Route 105 in Berkshire late Friday afternoon. AuthoritiesMore >>
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:03 PM EST2013-12-07 03:03:22 GMT
In Dorset, a car crashed into a bank and there was no drive-through lane.The car jumped the curb in front of the Berkshire Bank Friday morning, taking out a railing and getting hung up on the front steps.More >>
In Dorset, a car crashed into a bank -- and there was no drive-through lane. More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:01 PM EST2013-12-07 03:01:17 GMT
The longtime bookkeeper at Cold Hollow Cider Mill is expected to plead guilty to embezzling from the business and a local youth hockey program.Cold Hollow in Waterbury is one of Vermont's top tourist attractions.More >>
The longtime bookkeeper at Cold Hollow Cider Mill is expected to plead guilty to embezzling from the business and a local youth hockey program.More >>