GREAT FALLS – Imagine your worst nightmare coming true before your very eyes.
That was the reality for Great Falls couple Wes and Callie Ross earlier this week. Their 3-year-old son, Troy, experienced cold-like symptoms that didn’t seem to get better. They took him to the emergency room at Benefis in Great Falls on Tuesday, Wes’ birthday.
“It was clear within 5 minutes of being there that it was a critical situation,” Callie said in a Facebook post. “We know now that he is bleeding into his lungs, which has caused the severe anemia, the low blood counts, and the respiratory failure.”
Troy was life-flighted to Seattle Children’s Hospital where a unit team of 20 people worked quickly and efficiently to stabilize him. He required several blood transfusions that saved his life.
“Blood donors no doubt saved his life,” wrote Callie. “Troy has been given three-quarters of his current blood supply.”
Doctors still don’t know what it was that caused Troy’s sudden illness and he remains heavily sedated and on a respirator as medical experts eliminate possibilities and work toward finding a diagnosis.
Wes is an assistant football coach in his first year at Great Falls High after several years in Cascade. The Helena Capital grad has deep ties to the athletic and coaching community and when others around the state caught wind of Troy’s predicament, support came pouring in.
Friday morning, Kalispell Flathead coach Kyle Samson posted a video of the Braves football team standing together and cheering in support of Troy.
— Kyle Samson (@CoachKyleSamson) September 8, 2017
The Cascade Badgers, Wes’ old team, followed suit.
The Great Falls High Bison dedicated their game against Missoula Sentinel to coach Ross’ son.
Wes says he’s received well wishes from all corners of the state, including staffs at several Montana colleges. That led to an incredible moment Friday night. The Montana Grizzlies flew to Seattle earlier in the day in advance of Saturday night’s game against Washington.
Coach Bob Stitt, along with several staff members and players, stopped by the hospital to pay Troy, a diehard Grizzlies fan, a visit. They posed for photos and gave Troy an autographed football as a gift.
“When you can’t go to Griz Nation, Griz Nation comes to you,” wrote Callie.
In addition to the support from sports teams and coaches, friends and family members started the #PintsForTroy campaign. Since blood transfusions saved his life, supporters are encouraged to donate blood and pose for a selfie using the hashtag #PintsForTroy.
Several photos of friends, family and even complete strangers have been posted to social media.
“You better believe all your prayers and well wishes are making a dent,” wrote Wes. “And we are seeing what the doctors are calling baby steps of positive progress.”
“I have no words to express how grateful and thankful we have been for the outpouring of love and support for Troy and our family,” added Callie. “The last three days have been an absolute whirlwind, but we have stayed anchored down by the love everyone has shown us.”
Troy’s future health is still uncertain and there will no doubt be trying times ahead for the Ross family. But when a little boy was in need, Montana stepped up. As it always does.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’d like to help the Ross family, a GoFundMe account has been created to help offset medical costs.)