LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

The Spirit of the Season

“Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.” – Frank A. Clark

Hannah Knott, Dr. Henry Gremillion, Emily Guarisco

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Can you imagine the excitement and joy on the face of the little boy who has never had a new toy of his own when he spies the brand new Ninja Turtles bike Santa brought him on Christmas morning? Or his sister who realizes that the My Life Doll, complete with a wardrobe of outfits, matching pairs of shoes and a closet to hold them is hers. These are the visions that inspired the generosity of LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry students, faculty, staff and administrators to fulfill the Christmas wish lists of New Orleans area children in need. Launched by senior dental student Hannah Knott three Christmases ago, the dental school’s participation in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program is up by 157%.

Created to help provide Christmas assistance to children ages birth to 12, Angel tags include the child’s gender, age and wish list. Donors adopt an angel or two or a whole family and buy the gifts, which the Salvation Army then matches and distributes to the local families in time for Christmas.

Knott, who is a member of the DDS Class of 2018 and Philanthropy Chair of the LSU Health Chapter of the American Student Dental Association, reported, “With the help of compassionate hearts, 95 less fortunate children in the New Orleans area were adopted this Christmas (18 more than last year)!!”
Emily Guarisco and Hannah Knott delivering dental school Angel Tree gifts to the Salvation Army
Presents filled tables and spilled onto the floor at the Salvation Army and included baby dolls, transformers, Match Track cars, dollhouses, train sets, trucks, scooters, video games, electronic stoves, clothes and a truck full of bikes, among hundreds of others. It’s the stuff of a Christmas miracle that these children will never forget.
Dayton Prudhomme delivering dental school Salvation Army Angel Tree bikes
Knott was ably assisted by D2 student Emily Guarisco, who is Co-Philanthropy Chair and will carry on the tradition, and D4 student Dayton Prudhomme, who has loaded and delivered the gifts all three years.

“It is truly inspiring to see the beautiful hearts of the people who surround us each day,” Knott told donors. “Thank you for choosing to be a positive light in someone’s life this holiday season.”

It would be hard to say who benefits more – the students and donors who know that because of them, these children will not be forgotten, the parents who will not have to disappoint their kids this year, or the children who will experience the wonder and magic of Christmas, maybe for the first time.