Burning the Midnight Oil to Help Cancer Patients

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

PHILADELPHIA (February 8, 2008) — Though it's not uncommon in most colleges to find young men and women pulling all-nighters, the 200 Saint Joseph's University students who are staying awake on Saturday, February 23 are not doing so in a caffeine-fueled cram session. Instead, as members of the national "Up 'til Dawn" program, they'll be celebrating a successful year of charity work for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Beginning at 8 p.m. in Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse and continuing until 3 a.m., the students will play games, hear live music and stand-up comedy and write letters to the young patients at St. Jude, all while making a final push to raise money for the hospital.

Up 'til Dawn is the culmination of six months of fundraising to benefit the children of St. Jude. Last year Saint Joseph's raised $63,000; the students have already raised more than $33,000 this year and are hoping to reach their goal of $75,000 by the end of the closing ceremonies Sunday morning.

"Up 'til Dawn is an extremely important event because we're raising money for a hospital to keep its doors open even when patients don't have the ability to pay," said Saint Joseph's senior Bridget Forsyth, a student leader for the event. Located in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude's is the only pediatric cancer center that does not require families without insurance to pay for treatment out of their own pockets.

Forsyth, a management major from Ellicot City, Md., has taken part in Up 'til Dawn each of her four years at Saint Joseph's and has visited St. Jude's. "These children are some of the happiest, life-loving people I have met in my life," she said. "Sadly, almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer in some way, and taking part in Up 'til Dawn is a perfect way for college students to get involved in the fight."

Saint Joseph's was the first Philadelphia-area university to participate in Up 'til Dawn; in seven years of involvement, the University has raised more than $350,000. Founded in 1998, the program is now hosted at more than 250 colleges and universities nationwide and has raised more than $16 million to help St. Jude's. In 2006, Saint Joseph's was recognized by the hospital with the Outstanding Final Event Award.

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