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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Candy-grams benefit AMSA

<rleton students perusing the all-campus email in recent weeks may have spotted announcements for the sale of Valentine’s Day candy-grams. The profits from this fundraiser will  contribute to the construction of a bicycle ambulance for use in Haiti.

Carleton’s chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) coordinated the fundraiser. AMSA aims to provide a supportive on-campus community for pre-medical students, said DeeDee Rupert ’11, one of the four chapter leaders.

AMSA decided to help fundraise for the bicycle ambulance after being approached by Rebecca Palmer ’10 and Nathan Yaffe ’11 of Haiti Relief Carleton, which has organized and coordinated relief efforts with St. Olaf College and the Northfield community in recent weeks.

Palmer suggested the project after working on a fellowship proposal last term. Bicycle ambulances have proven successful in sub-Saharan Africa, she said, due to their cheap maintenance costs and relatively simple operation, and these conditions also apply in Haiti.

“I realized that Carleton has all of the resources that are needed to build a bicycle ambulance,” said Palmer. She discussed the project with Yaffe and Northfield resident Paul Miller, who has done work in Haiti. After contacting a Rotary Club in Hinche, Haiti, she decided to begin.

Bicycle ambulance programs in Africa have been advising Palmer on the project. Since the parts are fairly inexpensive, the rest of the money will cover shipping costs and an operating budget, as well as a repair kit to accompany the bicycle, she said.

However, this project is not an isolated effort. “While one bicycle ambulance can be incredibly useful for a community, I’m hoping that we can sustain our efforts here at Carleton so that we can build a bicycle ambulance every year and help our partner clinic to continue to increase access to health care,” said Palmer.

AMSA was more than happy to help out. “This is such a unique and wonderful project that we got on board right away,” said Rupert. Valentine’s Day provided the perfect opportunity to begin raising money, though there will be additional fundraising efforts in the future, such as a bake sale and a possible partnership with Hogan Brothers, said Ashley Wentworth ’10, another chair of Carleton AMSA. Haiti Relief Carleton is organizing a benefit concert called “Singing for Haiti” or “Chanté Pou Ayiti” that will take place on Feb. 27.

AMSA is aiming to raise $500 for the project, said Rupert. Blake Hansen ’10 will build the ambulance this spring.
Students wishing to purchase candy-grams can do so for $2 on Feb. 12 in Sayles. The candy-grams will be delivered on Valentine’s Day to the recipients’ mailboxes.

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