Up 'til Dawn raises over $20,000 for St. Jude

Throughout the typical semester, many students may experience sleepless nights while having fun with friends or pulling an all-nighter to study for a test or write a paper; however, this past Friday, March 4, students gathered in the Student Union ballroom to give up a night of sleep in honor of parents and families of sick children who have many sleepless nights at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  


Throughout the typical semester, many students may experience sleepless nights while having fun with friends or pulling an all-nighter to study for a test or write a paper; however, this past Friday, March 4, students gathered in the Student Union ballroom to give up a night of sleep in honor of parents and families of sick children who have many sleepless nights at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.   

St. Jude’s Hospital has a mission: to conduct research to find a cure and prevent pediatric diseases, and to treat everyone who walks through their doors, regardless of their ability to pay.  According to their website, the daily operating cost of St. Jude is $1.6 million, and that cost is covered primarily by donations from the general public.

Students from universities across the nation take the initiative to lead, create and recruit teams to raise money to support St. Jude’s and their mission.  Several teams comprised of University of Akron students have been working tirelessly organizing several fundraising events over the past several months.  

In September, students raised money with a lemonade stand and educated students about St. Jude’s mission in the Student Union.  In October, students held a fundraiser at Applebee’s in Chapel Hill and in November they held an all-teams meeting where each participant filled out letters to family and friends asking for their support.  Also, just last Tuesday, they organized a fundraiser at the Barley House in downtown Akron.  

According to Amy Dravecky, executive director of Up ‘til Dawn, individual and team fundraising is the most important part of raising money, and each team and individual raised money on their own in addition to the previous fundraisers.

All of their hard work was celebrated in a culminating event called Up ‘til Dawn this past weekend.  The event was held from 10 p.m. on Friday evening until 6 a.m. on Saturday morning.  It included activities such as a silent auction to raise additional monies and performances by A Capella Nuance, New Season Gospel choir and the music group Nite-n-Day.  Additionally, Paula and Ian McVey, mother and brother of a St. Jude patient who died, were present and spoke at the event.

This year’s campus theme for Up ‘til Dawn was When I grow up…I want to save a life!  Dravecky explained that they chose this because the work that St. Jude’s does with children affords them the opportunity to grow up and achieve their dreams.  

Teams that took part in Up ‘til Dawn and months of planning and fundraising are students from Sigma Nu, Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Gamma Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, the executive board of Up ‘til Dawn and several departments and groups around campus.  

The top team was HCORR 5th Floor, who raised a total of $1,690.  Members of HCORR included Brian Butler, Tony Dao, Elysia Horstman, Kelsey Menuez, Andrea Shergalis, Emily Stranges, Rachel Utendorf and Bekah Weismantel.

The top individual participant was Kacie Cassell, a member of Team AkronWBB1, with a total of $565.

The Up ‘til Dawn event raised a total of $20,388.39 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Over the past five years that Up ‘til Dawn has been held at The University of Akron, over $158,000 has been raised.

Applications are currently being taken for next year’s board members.  If you are interested in taking part, please contact Dravecky at afd5@zips.uakron.edu for more info.