Posted: Jun 15, 2015 3:56 PM EDT<em class=”wnDate”>Monday, June 15, 2015 3:56 PM EDT
RUTLAND, Vt. – For a long time, donating blood meant packing up and heading to a hospital or donor center, but as times change, so have the ways you can give.
Stephen Finneron’s been giving blood since his 20’s.”It actually started in college. The dean’s son was having an operation and my whole fraternity showed up to donate blood, and I just never stopped,” Finneron said.
And while the Killington man resident donated close to 150 pints since then, Monday was the first time he’s rolled up his sleeve to give from the back of a bus. “It’s deceptive to see that there’s actually six places in there that you can sit down and give blood. I thought it would be one at a time,” he said.
Finneron’s most recent donation came in the parking lot of the VSECU credit union in Rutland. “It’s an easy way to help for one thing; it doesn’t hurt; the people are great,” he said.
The drive at the credit union is one in a series the Red Cross is sponsoring as part of its 100 Days of Summer campaign, a push to boost donations at a typically slower time of year.
“I have wanted to do this for years but I have been petrified of needles, just afraid of blood, and I liked the idea of knowing that possibly I am saving somebody’s life,” said VSECU’s Yvonne Garand.
The Red Cross’ Michael Kempesty says partnering with businesses and community groups allows them to reach donors where they live and work, and to bring in more people than the Burlington donor center can accommodate on any given day. “One of the issues with that is our capacity and the location. Not everyone can get there, and then if everyone went there we wouldn’t be able to process then as well because we are a brick and mortar facility,” Kempesty said.
The Red Cross says it sets up shop at 3-4 remote locations a week, but that it could be pulling up at places Monday through Sunday if more community partners agreed to get on board.
“If we can raise awareness and bring people together to help neighbors, then why not do that, that’s a good thing,” Garand said.
Finneron agrees — even if he might need an extra hand getting up once his donation is done. “It was interesting. The seats are harder to get out of, but the people were just as professional and as good as anywhere else,” he said.
Click here for the mobile blood center schedule.