PHOENIX - A very special blood drive took place in Goodyear on March 7 to honor the memory of a 7-year-old Arizona boy who passed away two years ago.
Hunter Gross had to undergo multiple blood transfusions, and these blood drives are the family's way to say thanks and give back.
"He was so special, he was kind and loving and generous and just had such a sweet spirit to him that everybody that came around him just adored him," said his mother, Lindsay Butterfield.
Hunter was born in July 2012 with a congenital heart defect.
"He had his first open heart surgery at five weeks old, he had a blood transfusion - several of them - during that time," Butterfield said.
On July 2019, just shy of his 7th birthday, Hunter had to undergo another open heart surgery. But there were complications, and he was placed on life support. Eventually, things took a turn for the worse.
"He went through 100 units of blood the night he died, so just having that available to him even though it didn't save his life - it's such an important thing," his mother said.
So far, the family has held four blood drives, including one today. It's their way of giving back.
Anyone who didn't make it today's drive can always make an appointment through the Red Cross and donate on behalf of Hunter.
"They say grief is love that doesn't have anywhere to go, and just to see people come out and love on our family and do something that's so important for the community -- it just keeps his life and his light going," Butterfield said.
Donate in honor of Hunter Gross (use sponsor code DesertWestDance): https://www.redcrossblood.org/