Up ‘Til Dawn

courtesy: stjude.org/utd courtesy: stjude.org/utd

by Mallory Duncan

Relay for Life at the University of Hartford raised $38,000 for the American Cancer Society. Now, the latest fundraiser on campus, “Up ‘Til Dawn” hopes to raise just as much, only this time the money will be going to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to help fund the facility that treats children with cancer.

Earlier this week you may have noticed some tighty-whiteys hanging in the trees.

“The underwear is an advertising ploy for us, we were trying to be creative, and if you look closely at the underwear…it has “cancer” with a big “X” through it and the slogan is ‘kick cancer in the butt’” explained Alicia Farrell, the executive director of Up ‘Til Dawn.

“The whole slogan is staying up ‘til dawn to honor the patients and families who lose countless nights of sleep at the hospital.”

Similar to Relay for Life, you get together with a few of your friends to make a team of six. Then you write down 50 addresses of family and friends so they will receive letters requesting donations for St. Jude.

The fundraiser consists of two events.

“The first event is the actual letter sending event. It’s called the all-team meeting. That takes place on October 26 from 4 to 8 p.m. We get all the teams together and they write out the labels to their envelopes and send it,” explained Entertainment Chair Person Margaret Fortunato. “And then the second event is the finale event [in February] that’s where we fight the yawn, stay up ‘til dawn to honor all the patients who have lost many sleepless nights and parents who’ve lost sleepless nights as well caring for their children. We’ll be staying up until 6 a.m. We’re going to have a lot of entertainment going on–food being served, some dancing, prizes given out, very good prizes I must say so.”

If you send out 50 or more letters, you have the chance to win one of three grand prizes, including an iPod Touch, free housing for the Fall of 2009 (the equivalent of a Village Apartment) or an all-expense-paid trip for two to Las Vegas.

Farrell explained, “our goal is $45,000. Through side events we’ve raised $1,300 so far and the letter sending campaign is what’s really going to bring us that goal.”

In 1962 the survival rate for the most common form of childhood cancer was only 4 percent. Today in 2008 the survival rate is 94 percent and it’s charity events like “Up ‘Til Dawn” that help fund research at St. Jude’s, where no child is denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay.

For Fortunato, it’s a personal reason she’s helping out with “Up ‘Til Dawn.”

“My mom has had ovarian cancer twice, and seeing the hardships that a grown woman had to go through; I can’t even imagine a child having to go through that at such a tender age,” she said. “So I feel as though if we can start kicking cancer in the butt right now, then why not do it?”

Farrell said, “I think that a student should take part in “Up ‘Til Dawn” because they’re helping something so much greater. We’re coming together as a community to work for a huge cause and no one deserves to die in the dawn of life.”

To join a team of your own, you can contact Alicia Farrell at . For more information on “Up ‘Til Dawn” visit www.stjude.org/utd.