The American Red Cross, Greater Chicago Region, announced today that they will be able to expand their blood services operations in Chicago due in part to a gift of $782,000 from Jay and Lori Bergman. The new operation, located within the Red Cross Regional Headquarters, The Rauner Center in Chicago, will be named the Jay & Lori Bergman Blood Services Facility, after the couple.
The Bergman’s contribution represents the lead gift in a campaign to increase capacity and help create a sustainable, safe and robust blood supply for the Chicago region. The donation will be used by the Red Cross to increase physical blood storage space, improve the efficiency of blood product distribution, and enhance the capacity of the facility to include additional lifesaving services. The donation will fund a state-of-the-art blood reference laboratory, which will significantly decrease the time needed to match rare blood types. Currently, the closest Red Cross reference laboratory is in Peoria, Ill. This new laboratory will improve the ability of the Red Cross to provide rare and antigen-specific blood matches to critically-ill patients and provide the Illinois Medical District and other area hospitals with a wider range of blood products. The Bergman donation will also support an apheresis collection site. Apheresis technology separates out certain blood components during the donation process and returns the remaining blood components to the donor. This technology is currently being used at The Rauner Center to support life-extending treatments to stage-4 prostate cancer patients.
“We are so grateful to Jay and Lori for their extremely generous gift. It’s going to allow us to expand our blood operations in Chicago and ultimately, and most importantly, help save lives by getting a wider range of blood products to people in need much more quickly,” said Fran Edwardson, CEO, American Red Cross, Greater Chicago Region.
Jay D. Bergman serves as a Board member for the American Red Cross, Greater Chicago Region. He is President and CEO of Petco Petroleum Corporation, a nationwide energy company headquartered in Hinsdale, Ill. and is Chairman of the Board of American Heartland Bank and Trust Company in Sugar Grove, Ill. Mr. Bergman is a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the board that oversees the public Universities and Community Colleges in Illinois. He also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Illinois State University. Lori Bergman has an IT consulting business and is a board member of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties and a board member of Guardian Angel Community Services in Joliet. Lori and Jay reside in Joliet and are involved in a number of philanthropic endeavors throughout the state.
Approximately every two seconds, someone in America needs blood. As the nation’s largest supplier of blood and blood products, the American Red Cross provides about 40 percent of the U.S. blood supply. To meet this need, the Red Cross holds approximately 600 blood drives across the country each day and collects an average of 22,000 blood donations each weekday and 15,000 each weekend. Since World War II, people in America have relied upon the Red Cross to provide essential blood and blood products, whenever and wherever they are needed.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago leads a regional grouping in Illinois and Northwest Indiana that serves more than 9.6 million people. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/chicago.