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Galens group raises funds for sick children through Tag Days

Members of the U-M Galens Medical Society will take to the streets of Ann Arbor this weekend to raise money for projects aiding sick and needy children. As part of their annual Tag Days events, members of the organization hope to increase awareness and support for the community's disadvantaged youths.

Wearing red ponchos and carrying metal buckets, Galens volunteers collect donations in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area, and for each contribution, they give out red and green tags. In recent years, the combined efforts of street drives and mail donations have yielded close to $75,000 each Tag Days weekend. Funds collected go directly to charities that benefit children, such as the Ronald McDonald House at the University Medical Center and C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

In addition to the Ronald McDonald House and Mott's, several other local charities request donations from Galens through an application process. These charities submit a proposal outlining how they plan to use the money, and then Galens members vote on whether to approve it.

The Tag Days have been a Galens tradition since 1927, when W.W. Thomas suggested that the group fundraise for sick children in the University Hospital. The first Tag Days paid for a Christmas party in the hospital as well as the founding of the Galens Workshop, a facility that provides the patients at Mott's with toys, art supplies and musical instruments.

The organization is named in honor of the ancient physician Galen, who lived in the second century. His anatomical studies on animals and humans dominated medical theory and practice for more than 1,400 years, with a particular emphasis on the kidney, bladder, and the relationship between the brain and the voice box. One of his breakthroughs showed that arteries carry blood, dispelling a 400-year belief that they transported air.

Most of the planning for Tag Days falls on the shoulders of Galens' individual committee heads. Everyone in Galens participates in at least one of the
committees. Casey Trinianow, a medical student and secretary of Galens, helped to locate this year's poster child, a picture of whom each Tag Day volunteer will wear.

Despite her busy medical school schedule, Trinianow says Galens is well worth what little spare time she has. She first became interested in Galens after seeing "The Smoker," a musical parody of medical school life performed entirely by University medical students. Her favorite aspect of the society is meeting new people. "Galens people all like to have a good time," she says.

Bryan Holcomb, also a medical student and Galens' current president, says, "It is a great opportunity to do charitable work, and it offers excellent opportunities to work with fellow classmates and faculty at the U-M Medical School. I believe that it is an organization that can do a great deal of good."

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