The second annual statewide #TroyStrong blood drive is underway across Montana with events scheduled for Havre, Billings, Great Falls, Helena, Missoula, Kalispell and Bozeman.
The drive is named after 5-year old Troy Ross of Great Falls, who required blood transfusions to save his life after he was hospitalized with a rare autoimmune disorder in 2017.
The COVID-19 pandemic has canceled many similar blood drives across the country, but Montana has stepped up to help meet a critical shortage.
“They actually increased our donations for the whole year. Last year it was just over 175 donations, this year it’s over 200,” said Troy’s mother Callie Ross. “So the fact they upped our appointments during a pandemic is huge. Most of the donors outside of Helena and Great Falls we don’t know, they’ve just seen stories or posts about Troy. So that just tells you, Montana is the last best place.”
The drive is filling up but spots are still available in Billings and Great Falls on Thursday. To sign up, search for keyword TROYSTRONG at RedCrossBlood.org.
As a bonus, the American Red Cross will test donors' blood for COVID-19 antibodies.
“It’s to see if you have had it or have had exposure,” Callie said. “So, I know a lot of people are really interested in that, especially when people were sick in December or January and wondering if they'd already been exposed. So definitely a great benefit besides just saving lives.”