Staying Up For a Good Cause: FAU Hosts Up ‘til Dawn to support St. Jude’s Research Hospital


Photo by Alexandra Van Erven | Contributing Writer

St. Jude’s Research Hospital ensures that children with life threatening illnesses can receive treatment without worry of costly hospital bills. Through their efforts, St. Jude has helped push the survival rate of children with cancer from 20 to 80 percent, according to the organization’s website.

“Our founder Danny Thomas once said, ‘No child should die in the dawn of life,’ so we are counting on the support of students to help us with this life-saving mission,” said St. Jude’s event specialist Carolina Masari. “We are doing this for the St. Jude’s patients, and we want to make sure we help our doctors who are doing the research and are freely sharing it all around the world. This is why fundraising events like this are so important.”

Photo by Alexandra Van Erven | Contributing Writer
Photo by Alexandra Van Erven | Contributing Writer

Up ‘til Dawn, presented by the St. Jude’s executive event team, has been hosted by students on the FAU campus for the past six years. However, this was only the second year students were able to raise funds by asking their friends and family to donate online and completing challenges throughout the night.

“It used to be a letter writing campaign. St. Jude’s would provide the letters, and students would come in and write 50 letters to friends and family and mail them out. Then St. Jude would receive the money from the friends and family, but they didn’t get to see the letters instantaneously, so two years ago we switched the program to be all done online. [It became] an all-night challenge from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m.,” said Kelly Gratz, regional development representative for St. Jude.

The fundraising itself has not been as successful as in previous years. This year Up ‘til Dawn raised $3,453 of  its $15,000 goal. Since 2008, students have raised as much as $50,000, but were recently only able to raise around $8,000, according to Gratz.

Gratz attributes the decrease in donation to the event’s new format.

“It’s been a different approach for the campus, so we’re really trying to promote the online component because we feel like people register at the last minute, and we want to people to register earlier and raise money and then come to the event,” said Gratz.

The night began slowly with only three groups of students arriving at the event: Superheroes in Training (a group of nursing students), the Multicultural Greek Council and the St. Jude Avengers.

Photo by Alexandra Van Erven | Contributing Writer
Photo by Alexandra Van Erven | Contributing Writer

Preparations were made to keep students energized, with music provided by DJ Fletcher and a designated “Energy Station” which provided a wide range of snacks, including pizza, fruit snacks, chips and an arrangement of Arizona drinks.

Three competitions were held over the course of the evening, including a dance off, a relay race and a costume contest where students created an outfit made out of colored duct tape.

The St. Jude Avengers won the first competition with their dance routine for “Can’t Touch This.”

“I enjoyed the dance off because it forced us all to work together and have fun dancing through our awkwardness. I loved it,” said Danielle Jones, a theater and dance double-major and pre-med member of St. Jude’s Avengers.

The second competition was a dizzying relay race, consisting of participants who had to spin around 10 times, run through a zig-zag formation, throw a basketball to their partner on the other side and have the partner run down to meet the rest of the team.

The Multicultural Greek Council won the duct tape costume contest with their model, the St. Jude Defender.

Photo by Alexandra Van Erven | Contributing Writer
Photo by Alexandra Van Erven | Contributing Writer

“It was lots of fun. I was able to use my creative talents and make new friends. This was an awesome event and I will definitely be coming back next year,” said public relations major Briana White. She ended with saying, “Help the children by helping St. Jude!”

The night ended earlier than expected due to lack of turnout, but not before presenting Superheroes In Training with the award for the most funds raised by a team — $315 — and Bryanna Strait with the award for the individual person who raised the most funds — $170.

“This was my first fundraiser supporting St. Jude’s and participating and I cannot begin to say enough amazing things about the event. I had a wonderful time meeting new people and engaging in team building exercises all while raising awareness for the children and the hospital,” said biology major Treasure Fox. “I will definitely be back next year.”

Psychology major Caleigh Mills agreed, saying, “It was such a great honor to be supporting St. Jude’s and participating in all the fun activities that were organized.” She however hopes to raise awareness for the program, saying “It was a shame that more people didn’t show up, so I would like FAU to spread more awareness for this event and to get more students involved.”