Three osteopathic medical students at DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine at Lincoln Memorial University-Knoxville, were awarded the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Great Smoky Mountain Chapter.
The award was to be presented in person at the AFP’s National Philanthropy Day event; however, due to the pandemic, AFP will hold a live stream premiere of the documentary Hope in Chaos, featuring the award winners, at 11:30 a.m., Friday, on the AFP Facebook Page. The documentary will rebroadcast at 9 p.m., Sunday on MyVLT, and will feature local individuals and agencies that have worked hard to meet new challenges and serve the community in big ways amid this year’s public health crisis.
Elizabeth Taylor of Hampton, Georgia, Amy Rousselot of Midland, Texas, and Priyanka Dharampuriya of Boston, Massachusetts, moved to Knoxville in the summer of 2019 to begin medical school at DCOM at LMU-Knoxville. They never imagined that midway into their first year of medical school, the world would be shaken by a global pandemic.
In just a few short months, they had built a connection to Knoxville and were eager to help however possible.
“Knoxville has become my second home, and on a personal level, I just wanted to give back to the community however I could,” said Dharampuriya.
The first-year medical students raised a total of $9,695 to provide meals and personal protective equipment including surgical masks, KN95 masks, face shields, gowns, bouffants and shoe covers to health care workers in the Knoxville area. Together with the help of the student body they raised enough money to deliver 6,000 items of PPE to Covenant Health hospitals in the area, several local clinics, a pediatrician’s office, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knox Area Rescue Ministries, Knox County schools and several nursing homes. They also delivered 100 meals to health care workers and made a large donation to the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.