FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- On what would have been his 29th birthday, loved ones gathered in memory of Carl Williams.
Each pint saving up to three lives; an action fitting for the selfless man they say he was.
"It gives me a little bit of peace and joy because a lot of times when lives are lost, we're not sure how to honor our loved ones," says Francine Williams-Hicks, Carl's mother.
Williams was working as a security guard when he was gunned down at a Motel 6 in Central Fresno in 2017.
The man convicted for his murder, Kori Muhammad, would go on to kill three more people before his arrest. Family members didn't hesitate to create the Carl Williams Memorial Blood Drive as he was an avid donor.
He first started when his sister, Ellie, was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2012.
"It really helps; it helps so many people, and I know what it's like to be one of those people that need it," Ellie said.
Two years ago, Ellie received a bone marrow transplant.
"Knowing I was able to get the transplant because of people that do this, it makes me really grateful for them," she said.
Central California Blood Center Account Executive Ralph Ramirez says memorial drives bring out many first time donors.
"A lot of times people say I've never donated, but now's the time to do it," he said. "They want to give back and have that impact."
"Carl took it even further and every eight weeks, he would come and donate blood," Williams-Hicks said.
In light of the pandemic and its impacts on the healthcare system, donors are needed now more than ever. The Central California Blood Center provides for all hospitals in our five-county area.
"We need to keep up with the demand to not only help trauma and ER people but for the elective surgeries at the same time," Ramirez said.
The blood center needs 5,000 pints of blood per month to meet the needs of Valley hospitals.
Blood drive held to honor man killed in Fresno in 2017