Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
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MANDEVILLE-Christmas came early Monday, and was delivered to hospital beds, for children unable to spend the holiday at home with family.

State Police Troop L in Mandeville traded in ticket-books for toys and spread out to all of the hospitals on the Northshore where children are stuck with sickness for the holiday.

'It's not about the presents, it's about the season, it's about being with family and friends and bringing happiness to people possibly in situations not so much,' said Master Trooper Greg Marchand.

Eight-year-old Elijah Leblanc comes to Lakeview Regional Medical Center weekly for rehab.He was overjoyed to be there for a more enjoyable reason Monday when he got a football and a toy helicopter from troopers.

He said, 'I love it!'

Six-year-old Tracy Swanner's family was grateful to see her smile.

'It's wonderful,' said her mother Susan, 'I always enjoy seeing her light up and when she gets things she's so happy.She's just such a happy girl.'

The smiles are why troopers say this operation is in its fifth year.

Marchand said, 'Those faces that ya'll got on camera is more than I can say. It was awesome. Elijah with that football, Brice just now with the wrestling, it was great.'

And it means a boost of Christmas spirit for some families in need of a little cheering to go along with their healing.

The Louisiana State Troopers' Association, along with private donations, help buy the gifts for this effort every year.
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