You can’t miss the banner as you drive just east of downtown Cleveland on I-90.
The timing of the message, hanging on a wall facing north at Jergens Inc. couldn’t be better. There is an urgent need for blood and platelet donors, due to a donation shortage this winter. But even if there wasn’t a shortage, that banner would still be hanging, urging motorists to become blood donors.
“We hang the banner at this time every year,” said Jack Schron, President and CEO of Jergens Inc. They also hold employee blood drives, 4 or 5 a year, about every 56 days – which is the amount of time donors must wait before giving blood again.
“It’s just the right thing to do, a way to give back,” said Schron, who added, “A lot of people can write a check, but as I tell my kids, only you can decide whether to give your blood and your time.”
Schron shared his motivation for hosting regular blood drives as he donated another pint. His 83rd. The CEO of the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio, Mike Parks, joined Schron as they both gave the gift of life.
“We want to recognize loyalty,” said Parks. “When you look at the culture of this company, the 25-year employees, it’s evident that this company really values loyalty.”
Parks gave a “Challenge Coin” to long-time Human Resources Director, Kathy Puskas, for organizing the blood drives at Jergens for the past 25 years.
As we recently noted, severe winter weather, in addition to seasonal illnesses and hectic holiday schedules, have collectively contributed to about 28,000 fewer donations than what was needed in November and December. Blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals as fast as they come in. The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.
“The Red Cross is grateful to Jergens, and so many companies throughout Northeast Ohio who host regular blood drives throughout the year,” said Christy Peters, External Communications Manager for the Northern Ohio Region. “If they did not open their doors and allow us to have blood drives, we could not continue to meet the needs of local hospitals. Every blood drive sponsor is a vital part of our lifesaving mission.”
Eligible donors can schedule an appointment to donate by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
“Hey, if you can do it,” says Schron, “go for it!”