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A class effort

Second-year medical students Laura Nugent, Ashley Blagdon, Laura Butler and Megan Burke dressed up for Monte Carlo.


By Sharon Gray

There's a tangible excitement building among second-year medical students as Saturday, Nov. 19, approaches. That's the date for the Monte Carlo Charity Gala, an annual event that has been organized by medical students for 35 years.

It's a long tradition, and each year the event gets bigger and better. Most of the 65 students in the second-year medical class are involved in the event, with 32 students on the organizing committee. All 49 female members of the class will be performing a choreographed dance during the evening, and that's just a small part of the entertainment.

This year's theme is Cirque de la Soirée. The entertainment includes stunts featuring the local school of acrobatics group Acro-Adix. The glamorous, black tie night will be filled with extravagant lights, décor, music and entertainment, plus a variety of games and auctions. And it's taking place in the biggest venue yet – the St. John's Convention Centre.

"This meant we had to have an increased design budget," said Julia Curtis, co-chair of the organizing committee. "Last year the class of 2013 raised $8,000 to hold their Monte Carlo. We have already raised $12,000 on our own and are hoping to raise another $4,000."

With extending gaming time – up to midnight – the Monte Carlo organizing committee is relying on the help of undergraduate volunteer students to keep the gambling tables open while other entertainment is going on. The evening finishes with a live band, Recall, who is donating their time to the charity event.

This year's Monte Carlo Charity Gala is going back to its roots. The very first Monte Carlo in 1977, started as a fundraiser to help an injured classmate, featured pie-throwing contests. This year's event re-introduces this activity, with the proceeds going to the Haiti Project Broken Earth, whereby Newfoundland doctors and Eastern Health volunteers provide medical services for earthquake victims and ongoing medical support.

All proceeds go to selected local charities. This year's charities are the Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Inc., the Newfoundland and Labrador Down Syndrome Society, the Single Parent Association of Newfoundland, the Memorial University Student Union's Campus Food Bank and the Tommy Sexton Centre.

Last year $58,800 was raised for charity and this year the medical students plan to raise even more.

For the first time there will be a cash entrance fee to the Monte Carlo Charity Gala. It's $20 for advance tickets (available at the Student Affairs Office in the Faculty of Medicine) or $25 at the door. The good news is there a door prize of $2,500.