AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A local blood center is donating more than just platelets, plasma and blood this month.

In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Shepeard Community Blood Center is asking donors to bring a new, unopened toy with them to their next appointment to give to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

“This is our third year doing it,” said Ashley Whitaker, the director of community resources for the center. “Every year it seems like we get more and more toys and it’s just a really fun thing that we enjoy and our donors enjoy as well.”

Last year, Whitaker said the center filled three vans to the brim with toys, and she’s hoping to give even more this year.

“Our donors and our employees here really enjoy celebrating Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and bringing toys with their donation,” she said. “So it’s usually a very busy month.”

A platelet transfusion is usually one of the first methods of cancer treatment, and the center is trying to bring smiles to the faces of young cancer patients while helping to save their lives. 

I’m just donating platelets and plasma right now,” said Gary Lyons, a regular donor at Shepeard. “That’s where the greatest need is.”

Last week was also National Blood Donation Week and Whitaker said Shepeard has seen a recent increase in donors.

The center has a community drive coming up this Thursday at Grace UMC in North Augusta from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

[There are] lots of incentives for donors to come out and it’s also a really good opportunity if you want to donate a toy to the toy drive,” Whitaker said.

The center will donate the toys the first week of October, so donors should bring them in before then.