ROCHELLE, Ill. (June 12, 2019) — 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, July 22, from 1 to 6 p.m. at Hickory Grove Banquet and Convention Center, 1127 N. Seventh Street, in Rochelle. Last year was the first blood drive in the twin’s honor and collected 47 lifesaving donations.
This blood drive comes as the Red Cross has a critical need for all blood products. All presenting donors will receive a Red Cross blanket, while supplies last.
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 5-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.”
This blood drive comes as the Red Cross is urging individuals to help ensure blood is never missing from hospital shelves by donating blood or platelets through the Missing Types campaign. Despite blood’s lifesaving role, only 3 out of 100 people in the U.S. give blood each year. The goal of Missing Types is to inspire new and current blood donors to give this summer and help fill the missing types.
For the last seven 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 seven 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.”
How to donate blood
Simply download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or mobile device. To get started and learn more, visit RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.