Up ’til Dawn prepares for Nov. letter-writing campaign

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Author: Lucy Feickert

“No child should die in the dawn of life,” the motto of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, represents the goal of Up ‘til Dawn at Occidental College. The student club Up ‘til Dawn raises awareness of childhood cancer and raises funds for St. Jude.

Up ‘til Dawn raises money for St. Jude by hosting a letter-writing campaign in which students ask their family and friends to make donations to the hospital.

“It’s a great event. Letter writing sounds stiff, but we have entertainment throughout the whole course of the night… so there’s a lot of fun,” Assistant Director of Student Life Devon MacIver said. The Up ‘til Dawn letter writing campaign at Occidental will be on Friday, Nov. 2 from 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. in the Tiger Cooler.

The club has activities planned for the evening that, according to Philosophy major and Up ’til Dawn Co-chair of Public Relations Elle Powell (junior), will keep students excited about the cause.

“It’s gonna be really fun. We’re working really hard this year to have more entertainment… there’s gonna be popcorn and a photo booth and maybe henna tattoos, so we’re trying to make it a more fun space to stay for longer,” Powell said.

The event entices students because they don’t need to pull money out of their already shallow pockets.

“It’s a fun event and it’s for a great cause and you don’t have to donate, you just commit your time and the addresses of people that you know,” Diplomacy and World Affairs major and Up ‘til Dawn Executive Director Ashley Quintana (senior) said.

All the donations go directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, located in Memphis, Tenn., which treats patients of childhood cancer. The Memphis campus also houses a cancer research facility for premiere research in the field of childhood cancer, according to the St. Jude website. The discoveries made at St. Jude have raised the survival rate for childhood cancer from about 20 percent in 1962 to about 80 percent today, according to the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project’s website. Any breakthroughs made at St. Jude are published and shared worldwide in scientific and medical communities in order to further research for a cure, not for profit.

When colleges raise more than $10,000 through Up ’til Dawn, the organization invites a student and staff representative to visit the Memphis campus and see the work there, according to the St. Jude website. MacIver, who took on advising Up ‘til Dawn because of his experience with planning large events on campus, visited the hospital two years ago as a staff representative when Occidental raised over $10,000. 

“Going out and seeing the hospital was a very transformative experience as far as knowing where all the money is going to. So I would say since going to the hospital it’s become something more that I’ve become more involved in. It’s more than just the logistics,” MacIver said of his tour of St. Jude. “They look at the treatment from the complete perspective… Not only do they give you a place to stay, but they give you a gift card every week to go get whatever supplies that you need, they give you a budget to go get food. When you walk into the hospital, it is a hospital that is designed for little kids, to the point where they don’t have hospital gurneys or wheelchairs, they have little radio-flyers that they put the kids in and that’s how they get from their treatment to treatment.

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