Vernon Hills business holds blood drive at 'the beach'
Visitors to DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen in Vernon Hills on Wednesday were given a Hawaiian lei when they were greeted at the door by CEO Mike Aukerman, who was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, casual pants and sandals.
Welcome to the second day of what he called his two-day American Red Cross Hawaiian- and Jamaican-themed blood drive.
"Part of the thought behind the (tropical vacation theme) is that nobody likes to get their arm stuck with a needle," said Aukerman, who added he holds a blood drive every six months. "A lot of people do it but it's not the most fun thing to do in the world so why not make it a nice little atmosphere?"
The setting featured a tiki bar, palm trees, and Jimmy Buffett music for regulars and first-timers as they donated blood.
Jynine Czarny of Arlington Heights made the trip to Vernon Hills and said she hoped for a successful blood donation, "depending how my veins want to act."
Czarny said the tropical-themed event was "super cute," and something she didn't expect. She agreed with other donors that it calmed her down.
Lead Red Cross technician Jose Bernal said officials hoped to collect 46 pints of blood that would be processed in Peoria, then returned to the area.
"The need is always constant even in COVID times," Bernal said.