GREAT FALLS — Luc Swensson has made a name for himself through assemblies, the I Love This Life foundation and his recently launched HOLO Brand.
Most recently, he started signing athletes to Name, Image and Likeness deals to spread his HOLO message — Hope and Love. His first signing was Montana State quarterback Tommy Mellott, who started a mental health awareness campaign with HOLO.
“What I really want to do is bring in people who a lot of people look up to,” Swensson said. “Every kid looks up to Tommy all across the state, whether you're a Bobcat fan, a Griz fan, everyone looks up to him. He's a role model for absolutely everybody.”
But Swensson took a different approach with his next signing, 8-year old Troy Ross.
"So I actually came across Troy at a school assembly that I was doing in Great Falls,” Swensson said. "And that's kind of where I heard about Troy and about his story. And that really stuck with me."
In 2017, Troy was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder at 3 years old and nearly lost his life. Five years later he is in remission but he and his family remain strong advocates for helping others, organizing an annual #TroyStrong blood drive throughout the state that has potentially saved thousands of lives.
“Having to go through something like he did with autoimmune disease at that young age and I knew what he was doing with the blood drives, and I guess I wanted to help with that,” Swensson said. “And that's kind of our mission is to help make an impact.”
Troy and Luc met the night before one of Luc’s Imagine, Believe, Achieve assemblies at Riverview elementary. They hit if off quickly.
“We kind of talked about what Troy had gone through some of the darkest times in his life, some of the most amazing opportunity his and truly what a miracle took place with him,” said Troy’s dad Wes Ross. “Luc and his father (Thor) reached out to me the morning of the assembly and said they'd like to sign Troy to the HOLO brand. And I was blown away that they would like to do that.”
Swensson and HOLO are offering a branded #TroyStrong merchandise line with all proceeds going towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“Every piece of clothing that is sold, all the proceeds would go straight to Troy and give him the ability to give back to the places that saved his life,” Swensson said. "I don't want to take anything from that, so I won't get anything from my shirts. Everything is going to go straight to him, for him to give back to those places and do his own blood drives.”
It’s a mission the Ross family can get behind.
“If it helps people remember to donate blood or leave this world a better place, we’re all for it,” Wes said. “We’ll see what happens in the future, but for the last five years that’s just been who Troy is."
To purchase a #TroyStrong HOLO shirt, click here.