The second annual Casino Night fundraiser organized by students at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine not only drew a crowd, but also raised $9,000 for the college’s Compassionate Care Fund.

The Feb. 15 event planned by student members of Alpha Psi, Omega Tau Sigma, and the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association supported the Compassionate Care Fund. The fund provides financial support when an animal’s owners are either unknown or cannot meet the financial needs of treatment and when a successful outcome and good quality of life are likely.

“The money raised last year has already gone to helping 11 clients and their animals. It has allowed one dog to walk again, it has put a pacemaker in place, and it has corrected a young puppy’s heart defect,” said Eve Waters of Silver Spring, Md., a third-year veterinary student and a Casino Night organizer. “The Compassionate Care Fund helped not only these animals, but also the students who assisted in all of these procedures and who had the opportunity to gain experience on a case that would have otherwise foregone treatment due to cost.”

Despite a historic snowstorm that shuttered Virginia Tech for two days prior to the event, Casino Night managed to triple last year’s dollar total. Funds raised will increase the number of patients benefiting from the Compassionate Care Fund and the number of students gaining valuable learning experiences at the teaching hospital.

Held at Blacksburg’s German Club, the fundraiser attracted 475 faculty, staff, students, and their guests. Each entry ticket, which cost $12 in advance or $15 at the door, included a bag of chips for the blackjack, roulette, poker, and craps tables where college faculty members served as “dealers.”

The more successful a participant, the more chips he or she acquired and the more chances to win various prizes through a raffle at the end of the night. Chips were “cashed in” for tickets, which could then be drawn during the raffle. Sixteen local businesses and veterinary-related companies donated prizes and 25 restaurants and catering companies donated food for the event. In addition, every student club at the college participated in the event and donated a prize for the raffle.

The Veterinary Teaching Hospital has several similar compassionate care funds to provide financial assistance, including endowments from both anonymous and named donors. To learn about giving opportunities for these funds, contact Dr. Frank Pearsall at 540-231-4259.

View more photos from Casino Night in a Facebook photo gallery.

Written by Michael Sutphin.