Ella’s Army Blood Drive held in Hazleton for fourth year

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s always good to give. That’s what the holiday spirit is about.

Many in Luzerne County are making a difference by simply giving blood for a good cause. The fourth annual Ella’s Army Blood Drive took place at Laurel Mall Saturday. Ella Gorgoglione, an adorable toddler, was just weeks old when she was diagnosed with biliary atresia.

“Which is a liver disease that’s very rare in little ones who usually don’t live past two,” Ella’s mom, Chelsey Gorgoglione, said.

Now she’s five years old and healthy as can be. It’s all thanks to a life-saving liver transplant. It’s why the annual Ella’s Army Blood Drive is held each year.

“Ella had a 14-hour transplant where she required a lot of blood which obviously came from donors so we hold the blood drive as a way to celebrate what was given to her five years ago,” Chelsey said.

Dozens lined up at Laurel Mall in Hazleton to donate their time and blood to help make a difference. Each person that signed up got a raffle ticket and once they successfully donated blood, they were given a second ticket for a chance to win a basket prize.

“It is so awesome that Chelsey and her family decided to do this blood drive in honor of Ella today because this time of year, blood supplies are always in need, but this time of year, it’s critical,” Kathy Rowinski, count manager for Miller-Keystone Blood Center, said.

“I’ve had several family members that have had help with blood donations. My mother-in-law passed away from cancer and it’s just important for me to give back,” Alicia Wheeler of Freeland said.

Wheeler had no problem donating her blood Saturday afternoon. She says this isn’t her first time giving back and she’ll do it as often as possible.

“It makes me feel good, you know? I feel like I’m giving back to my community. It’s just really important,” Wheeler said.

“Don’t wait for a tragedy. Don’t wait for something awful to happen or for your loved one to need it. It’s needed all the time,” Rowinski said.

It’s a process that takes about 45 minutes of your day to help save a life.

“People don’t realize how much blood we actually go through when something tragic happens, so one person in an accident can go through five or six donors’ worth of blood,” Riana Piccirillo-Delgado, Ella’s aunt, said.

So maybe other little girls like Ella can have a childhood filled with fun.

Chelsey says 50 people came out to the blood drive last year and she’s hoping to beat that number this time around.

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