MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) – The American Red Cross teamed up with the Manchester Road Race Committee for its 36th annual Ray Crothers Blood Drive on Friday.

In recent years this event has become one of Connecticut’s largest single-day blood collection events.

It started in 1986 and has been held annually on the day after the road race.

The event is named after Crothers, a popular Manchester Road Race champion from Tolland.

He competed in the race for 43 years. Sadly, he died from cancer in 2008.

Organizers say each donation has the power to save multiple lives.

“The need for blood is constant. It goes towards everything from car accidents, to mothers in need or just routine surgeries or just routine surgeries basically at the hospital. Also, rare blood disorders like sickle cell disease”, said Alissa Haightaguda, of the American Red Cross.

“I’m alive today because of donors from the red cross. The doctors can’t do their jobs without donors,” said Felix Cruz.

More than 7,500 pints of blood have been donated since this event began. Last year community members donated 335 pints.