The Season of Giving

Med students take on several charitable projects this holiday season

Amy Hewko - 19 December 2013

The winter chill may be setting in but U of A medical students have warmed some hearts this December.

In late November and early December, the Medical Students' Association Peds Club collected toys for children who will be in the Stollery Children's Hospital for treatment over the holidays. Club leaders Aleksa Leszczynski, Brieanne Rogers and Nicole Veltri asked for brand new, unwrapped gifts for children of all ages.

"We really need a variety. Sometimes the older kids get missed, probably ages 12 to 16," offered Rogers. As incentive, participants added their names to a draw for a gift card with each toy they donated.

Fundraising for the tenth annual Medicine Cup Charity Tournament (MCCT) also commenced with early-December teddy bear sales in West Edmonton Mall.

The MCCT is a four-on-four outdoor hockey tournament which takes place February 7 to 9, 2014. Jason Novak and Jolene Johnston, this year's organizers, hope to raise $20,000 to meet the ten-year fundraising goal of $100,000 set by the event's founders. All proceeds go to the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation.

MCCT is an open tournament for anyone interested in participating. Contact Johnston ( or Novak ( for more information. Team registration costs $300 and contributes to the fundraising total.

"The Stollery is such a great cause. Even though you see a lot of groups donating to the Stollery, I really don't think you can donate enough to that cause," Novak said, noting that his love of hockey gave him a perfect way to bring two of his passions together.

The tastiest event on campus took place on December 4. Med students put their cooking skills to the test with Flavours of Medicine, the annual potluck. Food items are sold for a pre-determined number of tickets which are sold at $1 each. This year, students fundraised for Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS). Seventeen teams presented more than 20 dishes ranging from curried chicken to tofu pockets. The students raised more than $1,300 for YESS, which provides shelter, food and other services to at-risk teens.

"There almost weren't enough plates to feed everyone," said Jian Choo, the organizer for Flavours of Medicine and the Gold Humanism Honor Society representative for the class of 2016.

The annual Gingerbread House Competition and Food Drive, held on December 9, challenged medical students and staff to show off their architectural skills. The top three finalists were treated to dinner at Murrieta's, courtesy of Laurie Mereu, professor in the Division of Endocrinology. All proceeds went to the Edmonton Food Bank. Monetary donations and non-perishable food items were also collected during the event.