CPHS Students Bring Holiday Joy to Hospitalized Children

Collection of toys on the floor in front of a Christmas tree
January 26, 2021

A myriad of toys were delivered to children’s hospitals in the New York City area during the Christmas holidays, thanks to the charitable efforts of a faculty member and three graduate students at St. John’s University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (CPHS).

A total of 237 toys were collected from across the United States, including Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, and South Carolina, and delivered to Matthew’s Wish, an organization that supports Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and Cohen’s Children Medical Center

For the past decade, Corinne I. Alois, PA-C, Assistant Professor at CPHS, has worked on behalf of Matthew’s Wish, which was founded by AnneMarie Allen-Guli, who lost her 13-year-old son to cancer in January 2011. His wish was to fill a tractor trailer with toys and deliver them to children who are hospitalized.

Ms. Alois, who enjoys sharing the mission of Matthew’s Wish with her students at St. John’s, credits much of this year’s successful toy drive to three students who are candidates in the Master of Science in Physician Assistant degree program -- Isabela Horzempa, who will graduate in 2023, and Meagan Walls and Allison Luntz, who are both slated to earn their degrees in 2022.

“These students took an incredible interest in the project,” said Ms. Alois. “The thought of a sick child during the holidays certainly pulled at the heartstrings of these future health-care providers.”

Ms. Alois explained that Isabela quickly organized a toy collection with her classmates, and Meagan and Allison took the lead in arranging a similar collection with members of their class. 

She said the students’ efforts were fueled by concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic could negatively impact the toy donations.

As they have in years past, the Manhattan law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP generously supported the toy collection. Their charitable donation went to fulfilling all of the holiday wishes the children expressed, as well as covering the costs associated with the charity’s “Christmas in July.” This event is held when a medical condition necessitates an early celebration and when there are requests from patients with chronic illnesses following surgery or treatment.

“I am very grateful to our students for helping to make 2020 an amazing success for Matthew’s Wish,” Ms. Alois said.