GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – On Friday, March 24, Tri-Cities locals are encouraged to bring a new stuffed animal to Doak Elementary School for the Sweet T’s Blood Drive in honor of Teaguen Donahue, a kindergarten student at Doak.

The event will last from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and all stuffed animal donations will be used to benefit patients at Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City.

Donahue herself has been a patient at Niswonger since being diagnosed at the age of one with Von Willebrand disease, a life-long disorder in which the individual’s blood does not clot correctly. While in the hospital receiving blood transfusions, Teaguen received stuffed animals as gifts.

“She’s always loved stuffed animals, they bring her joy,” Teaguen’s father, Kyle Donahue, said. “She keeps them all close and names every one of them, so we wanted to give back some of that joy that she gets.”

The Marsh Regional Blood Center in Johnson City is overseeing the blood drive, but blood donations are not required to participate in the stuffed animal drive.

Rhonda Smith is the operations manager at the Marsh Regional Blood Center and encourages local residents to take the time to donate on Friday.

“We like to say ‘give here, help here,’” she said. “When you donate blood with Marsh Regional Blood Center, it stays in our region and goes back to our local hospitals, including Niswonger.”

Kyle Donahue believes that the combined blood and stuffed animal drive is a special opportunity to give back to the community.

“Giving blood is not something you think about until you need it,” he said. “We wanted to be able to share the message that it is needed all the time and give back to our neighbors who have given so much to us.”

Doak Elementary School is located at 70 West St, Tusculum, TN 37745.