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Galens Tag Days fundraisers take to Ann Arbor streets, raise money for local children

University of Michigan medical students spread holiday spirit and support Washtenaw County youth charities

Ann Arbor, Mich. Toting collection buckets and donning their familiar red ponchos, University of Michigan medical students will once again take to the streets of Ann Arbor this weekend in support of local children.

From Thursday, Dec. 5 through Saturday, Dec. 7, students from the Galens Medical Society will accept donations from shoppers and pedestrians as part of the 87th annual Tag Days fundraising event for children in Washtenaw County. Marking the 100th anniversary of the Galens Medical Society, organizers hope to raise more money than ever before during the extended three-day event, which begins one day earlier than previous fundraisers.

Donors receive a red or green tag to wear on their coat or purse showing their support, with 100 percent of proceeds benefitting a variety of children’s organizations in Washtenaw County. Last year’s event raised more than $60,000.

In the past, Galens has provided funds to the U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Child and Family Life program, the Corner Health Center in Ypsilanti, Family Book Club of Ann Arbor, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan and Special Days Camp—a week-long summer camp for children with cancer and leukemia. 

"This is absolutely my favorite weekend of the year. It is incredibly inspiring to see the entire Medical School, including students from every class and faculty from all departments, come together in support of such a wonderful cause,” says Devon Rupley, a fourth-year medical student and one of the co-chairs of the event. “I am continually awed by the dedication of the more than 180 busy medical students and 65 faculty who cover the streets of Ann Arbor over the course of the weekend. My involvement with Tag Days over the past four years has truly come to define my experience at UMMS."

Among the medical students who tag each year, one student is awarded the Blue Tagger of the Year award for outstanding contributions to the fundraising effort. Last year, second-year medical student Anthony Sawyer received the award and was applauded for his efforts in supporting local children and embodying the spirit of fun and giving that is Tag Days.

"So many people come together to make Tag Days a success, and it really is humbling to be a part of the effort,” Sawyer says. “The kids that we reach through our Tag Days Efforts are such fighters, and it's really inspiring to see what these organizations are doing to help make their lives just a little bit better."

Tag Days by the numbers:

·Participating students and faculty: 180 medical students and 65 faculty

·Total hours spent fundraising: 36

·Number of “bucketing” locations: 84

·Busiest location: Main Street during Midnight Madness

·Number of donor tags distributed: 16,000

The Tag Days fundraiser coincides with Ann Arbor’s Midnight Madness, an annual shopping event where participating stores extend their hours Friday night and offer holiday discounts.

Event Information

Date: Thursday, Dec. 5 – Saturday, Dec. 7
Time: Beginning 6 a.m. Thursday and ending 6 p.m. Saturday
Location: Various, throughout Ann Arbor

Ways to donate: 

• Donate cash to medical students throughout Ann Arbor during the event
• Visit http://www.umich.edu/~galens/tagdays.shtml and donate via the Paypal link on the website

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