ROCHELLE, Ill. (July 14, 2020) — The American Red Cross is joining family and friends to host the Flip Flops and Blood Drops Blood Drive in honor of Lana and Ellie Troha, Monday, August 3 from noon to 6 p.m. at the VFW Building, Community Room, 318 4th Avenue in Rochelle. Appointments are strongly encouraged to abide with social distancing guidelines. All presenting donors will receive a Red Cross window cling and a $10 Visa gift card (via email), courtesy of Suburban Propane, while supplies last.
This blood drive comes as the Red Cross has an urgent need for all blood products. The Red Cross is now testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies for a limited time, providing donors insight into whether they have been exposed to this coronavirus. Donors who help support the urgent need by giving at this drive will be able to view their results 7-10 days after donation through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or at RedCrossBlood.org.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to protect the health of all those in attendance.
In April 2014, Gabby and Derek Troha went on a Florida vacation anticipating wearing flip flops, enjoying sunshine and smiles as they waited for the birth of their twin girls in August. However, while there, Gabby was rushed into emergency surgery at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. The girls, Lana and Ellie, were born later that day at 23 weeks 5 days and placed in the NICU.
On April 28, Ellie’s health took a turn for the worse and she received a blood transfusion in an effort to help save her life. Unfortunately, it was not enough and Ellie passed away from a bacterial infection. A week later, Lana caught the same bacterial infection in addition to having a meconium blockage in her intestines and a grade three brain bleed. Within her first four months of life, Lana miraculously survived all complications and received eight units of blood.
Looking at Lana Troha now, it’s hard to imagine she once weighed 1 pound 6 ounces and was 11 inches long at birth. Today the 6-year old is healthy, happy and continues to grow, thanks in part to generous blood donors and lifesaving blood donations.
“Hosting the Flip Flops and Blood Drops blood drive is a wonderful way to remember Ellie, honor Lana and help patients in need,” said Gabby Troha, mother of the twins. “Last year’s blood drive was a huge success and I want to again reach out to the community for their support and collect even more donations to help save more lives. Our family feels forever blessed by the turnout and support to not only our girls who both needed blood, but those who need it now, and to those who rely on the blood that’s on the shelves at the very moment.”
For the last eight years Gabby has been a team lead for the collections staff for the Red Cross Heart of America Blood Services Region. “Never did I expect that when I started eight years ago, that my own daughters would need the gift of blood,” said, Troha. “The Red Cross is not just a job to me, it’s much more personal than that. Every day I go to work I am reminded why I’m there and who I’m helping. Every donor has a story and it’s equally important for them to donate as it is for me to be there. Without each other there wouldn’t be a supply of blood to help save lives.”
2018 was the first year the blood drive was held in the twin’s honor and to date 90 lifesaving donations have been collected.