Oklahoma Baptist University

Students to Stay ‘Up ’til Dawn’ to Benefit St. Jude

Three-year-old Belle Mitchell receives 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.

"Fight the yawn: Stay awake to cure childhood cancer" is the motto of Up 'til Dawn, a student-led philanthropic program to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. The program, hosted annually by more than 180 college campuses nationwide, will come to OBU on Friday, Nov. 5.

In the Up 'til Dawn program, an executive board of 10 or more students is selected. Those students then recruit other people who are willing to help with fundraising activities. The volunteers divide into teams of five or more members, and the teams raise funds through various activities such as car washes, bake sales, raffles, aluminum can drives, garage or yard sales, auctions and more.

After continuous fundraising, the teams will come together on Friday, Nov. 5. The day begins as students start a massive letter-sending campaign. The letters tell people about the Up 'til Dawn program and inform them about how they can make a donation to St. Jude. Volunteers will gather at OBU's Geiger Center to address pre-written letters or e-mails to family and friends.

After the letters have been addressed, students gather in OBU's Recreation and Wellness Center to compete against each other and have fun during a night of non-stop games and activities. The event runs overnight, and students sacrifice a night of sleep to honor all the families and friends who may stay up in the hospital with their ill loved ones. Students are encouraged to "Fight the yawn" and stay "Up 'til Dawn" at this event, because the grand total of money raised through the fundraisers is announced in the morning.

St. Jude treats children of all ages -- such as 3-year-old Belle Mitchell -- who have been diagnosed with cancer and other serious illnesses. Belle is fighting Choroid Plexus Carcinoma. 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 underwent chemotherapy at St. Jude and continues outpatient treatment at the hospital. Belle's father, who serves as youth minister at First Baptist Church, Rock Hill, S.C., remains at home in Rock Hill with her three siblings when Kelley accompanies her to St. Jude.

Last year, OBU hosted its first-ever Up 'til Dawn event. There were 160 participants who helped raise more than $20,000 to benefit St. Jude. Program coordinators said they hope to set new records for gifts and involvement this year.

For more information about Up 'til Dawn or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, click here.
To learn more about OBU's Up 'til Dawn program, click here.

To make a donation to OBU's 2010 Up 'til Dawn campaign, contact OBU student Adrienne Williams at adrienne.williams@my.okbu.edu.

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