Before the age of 19, one in every 330 children in the United States will develop some form of cancer, according to the National Children’s Cancer Foundation.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, founded in 1962 by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, is dedicated to treating children with catastrophic diseases and has become one of the world’s leading childhood cancer treatment centers.
This year, for the first time ever, UM took part in St. Jude Up ’til Dawn, a student-run program hosted by colleges and universities across the country. UM students like Amy Omae, senior, and Clarissa Afable, junior, were encouraged to write letters to family and friends asking them to donate to St. Jude.
Up ’til Dawn held its finale event last week in the UC. Students were literally “up ’til dawn”; from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday night, students enjoyed music from a live band, a pool party, karaoke, free food and arcade games.
“We’re celebrating a good cause,” said Barbara Laurent, junior, as she enjoyed the pranks of mentalist Craig Karges. “The hospital does a lot for the kids – especially those that can’t afford it.”
Unlike many pediatric hospitals and research centers, St. Jude provides groundbreaking treatment for all of its patients regardless of financial ability. All costs are covered by the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, as well as funds donated to the hospital. Up ’til Dawn is one of the most popular St. Jude fundraising events.
“So far approximately $10,000 has been raised,” Vance Aloupis, director of Up ’til Dawn, said. “We are very happy at how well it’s gone.”
Pictures of children who survived the battle with cancer or presently suffer from cancer were posted throughout the UC to remind everyone of the goals of the organization. As this year’s fundraising continued, no one lost sight of the cause.
While turnout for the event was not as high as expected, event organizers were satisfied with Up ’til Dawn’s accomplishments.
“This is a decent turnout for the first Up ’til Dawn celebration at the University,” Villamor Asuncion, executive board member, said. “As long as UM is here, St. Jude will be here and it will continue to grow.”
For more information regarding St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and how you can help, visit www.stjude.org or call the Volunteer Services Center at 305-284-GIVE.
Myriam Clerge can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.