I was first introduced to Tag Days when I was an undergraduate student here at Michigan. I was walking to class on a cold December day when a guy dressed in a red poncho asked if I would like to donate to kids in Washtenaw county. I listened to his spiel and when I realized he was a medical student I decided to give him a couple dollars and call it my pre-med karma for the day. I tied the red tag to my backpack and went on with my day.
I now know that this was my first taste of Tag Days magic. Fast forward two years and I am a first-year medical student excited to don my red poncho and hit the streets of Ann Arbor with my bucket. I had heard stories from the M2s about dressing up in onesies, singing songs, and eagerly waiting for attendings to deliver hot chocolate as they stood outside in the cold. There was a tangible camaraderie surrounding the event and I couldn’t wait to be a part of it. That year I learned just how deeply rooted an Ann Arbor tradition Tag Days really is. Locals would stop to drop a dollar in the bucket and share a Tag Days memory or tell a story about a time their child was cared for at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. I even heard a story from two physicians about how they fell in love during Tag Days! I was fascinated to hear how this event meant so much to so many people.
This year is the 90th annual Tag Days. For the past three years I have had the pleasure of experiencing this magical tradition and it has become very close to my heart. I have been inspired by the organizations that Tag Days supports. We have funded projects that provide at-risk youth with books to read over summer break, sent children with terminal illnesses to summer camps, provided education to teen mothers, supported pediatric neurorehabilitation initiatives, and so much more. I have also been inspired by the patients and families at Mott who I spent time with during my third-year pediatrics rotation. They truly are little victors!
This year is particularly special to me as I have the honor of serving as the co-director of the event, or co-czar as we call it. A huge honor, and a big responsibility! Last year the event raised $90,000 and we are gearing up for this weekend’s event in hopes of breaking that record once again. So if you’re in Ann Arbor this weekend, stop and drop a dollar in the bucket and get tagged!
Learn more at www.tagdays.org