Oklahoma Baptist University

Blitz Week to Benefit St. Jude

Two-year-old Belle Mitchell is receiving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., for Choroid Plexus Carcinoma. OBU students are raising money to benefit St. Jude and patients such as Belle.

Students at Oklahoma Baptist University are gearing up to participate in the University's annual fundraiser, Blitz Week, a week of events and competitions dedicated to raising as much money as possible for an organization of choice. In years past, OBU students have raised thousands of dollars to benefit local, national and international charities through a week of fundraising activities.

With a goal of $6,000, this year's Blitz week will kick off April 17 with Spring Affair, the annual talent show produced by the Campus Activities Board. Throughout the week, until April 24, students will have opportunities to participate in an array of activities. The proceeds will benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Located in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude is a state-of-the-art pediatric treatment and research facility. With research and patient care under one roof, St. Jude is where some of today's most gifted researchers are able to do science more quickly. St. Jude researchers are published and cited more often in high impact publications than any other private pediatric oncology research institution in America. St. Jude is a place where many doctors send some of their sickest patients and toughest cases. It is America's second-largest health-care charity. All patients accepted for treatment at St. Jude are treated without regard to the family's ability to pay.

St. Jude treats children of all ages -- such as 2-year-old Belle Mitchell -- who have been diagnosed with cancer and other serious illnesses. Belle was diagnosed with Choroid Plexus Carcinoma last year. It was discovered in the form of a brain tumor in September 2009, but it had metastasized to her spine by the time it was discovered. Belle is the daughter of David and Kelley Mitchell. She has been undergoing chemotherapy at St. Jude since October. Belle's father, who serves as youth minister at First Baptist Church, Rock Hill, S.C., remains at home in Rock Hill with her siblings, Taylor, 7, Emily, 6, and Jack, 4.

Belle Mitchell gives her health care providers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital a "thumbs up" as she continues her treatment for Choroid Plexus Carcinoma. Belle, age 2, and her mother Kelley (center) have been at St. Jude since October. OBU students will be raising money through their annual "Blitz Week" to benefit the hospital.

The Blitz Week committee, led by senior co-chairs Katie Lewis and Jamie Burcham, selected St. Jude as the beneficiary of the Blitz Week activities after hearing about the research hospital through another OBU group, Up 'Til Dawn. That organization has already started raising funds for St. Jude, and, working together, organizers hope to make Blitz Week as successful as possible.

The annual week will include many events from years past including Sonic Night, The Whole Milk Two Mile and the Varsity-Faculty Basketball Game. New events will also be added to the schedule this year, including Muggle Quidditch, a replica of the sport seen in Harry Potter; Battle of the Air Bands, a lip-syncing competition; a sand volleyball tournament, with a giant Slip-N-Slide; and an Up 'Til Dawn letter-writing event.

The letter-writing event will give students the opportunity to write letters to friends and family members informing them of St. Jude and asking for donations for the organization. Groups of five students will participate in the event and write letters to 35 of their friends and family.

"The most important way students can get involved is by getting a team of five together and participating in the Up 'Til Dawn letter-writing event on Friday evening," said Lewis.

Along with letter writing and other events, students can also get involved by helping with Sonic Night Tuesday, April 20. Each year, Sonic Night is one of the largest fundraisers. Student participants ask customers at Sonic locations if they would like to donate to the Blitz Week beneficiary. In 2008, Sonic Night raised more than $1,000 to benefit Blitz Week. Sonic Night will take place at all four Shawnee Sonic locations.

Blitz Week T-shirts will be available in OBU's Geiger Center, and a portion of those funds will benefit St. Jude.

"Students should get involved in Blitz Week because not only is it a week full of fun activities, but it is also a chance to give to a well-deserving organization," said Lewis. "It is a way for the students of OBU and the community of Shawnee to unite under one common goal."

In 2008, OBU students raised more than $8,000 to benefit Blood:Water Mission. Those funds helped build fresh water wells for African communities. In 2009, Blitz Week raised funds for Family Promise of Shawnee.

For more information about St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, go to http://www.stjude.com/.