ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A bright red seasonal sight is popping up all over Ann Arbor this week, bringing cheer as the holidays approach. But this annual tradition is far more than just decorative -- it helps children in need, especially those with serious illnesses. And before it's done, people around the city will be sporting a colorful sign that they helped make it possible.
It's the annual Galens Tag Days, a tradition since 1927 that brings University of MIchigan Medical School students out into the streets of town to collect donations of all sizes for children's charities.
The red ponchos worn by medical students as they collect donations of all sizes have become an unmistakable sight of the season, and so have the colorful little paper tags that they give to every donor, to sport on their coat or bag as proof of their generosity.
For decades, all the donations were dropped in the students' buckets as they stood on street corners and campus walkways. But now, donors can give online in a variety of ways -- including, this year, via a virtual money transfer option known as Venmo.
No matter how they give, this year's donors can help the Galens Medical Society -- a student organization -- try to top its record haul of $90,000 in 2015. Donations from last year are helping children at U-M's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, as well as helping send children with cancer to camp, and helping fund literacy programs for children in Washtenaw County.
Each year, the students choose a "poster child" to inspire donors. Meet Linnea, a seven-year-old brain tumor survivor who serves as this year's poster child.
So if you're out and about December 1 through 3, from 6 a.m. til late at night, watch for the seasonal sight of a Galens Tag Days team - and be part of a tradition that dates back to 1927.