Up ‘Til Dawn
Before I came to Mount Union, I never knew what St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital was. After joining Delta Sigma Tau I had the opportunity my sophomore year to visit St. Jude with a few of my sisters and a few brothers of Alpha Tau Omega. Going into this, I never knew this experience would change my life.
In December 2012 we left from the Stagg Bowl and started our trip down to Memphis, TN. We went for four days and got to experience the Memphis lifestyle with Beale Street, live bands and BBQ. The day finally came where we were able to tour the hospital. Walking around St. Jude brought joy to everyone instead of sadness. The memory I remember most vividly was stopping midway through a hallway and breaking down. I was crying of joy because my dream of visiting St. Jude was finally coming true. After our tour, we went to the Target house, which is housing away from the hospital for patients. We were able to craft with patients and talk with their families. When you hear how much those children are going through, but see that they still have a smile on their face, your life changes.
When I got back to Mount Union, I filled out my application for Up ‘Til Dawn. Up ‘Til Dawn is an organization on campus whose goal is to raise money for St. Jude. During my interview I was able to tell stories of visiting the hospital, and while I was talking about it, I could feel how much passion I brought back with me for that hospital. I received the assistant public relations chair on the Executive Board and was beyond happy.
Up ‘Til Dawn holds two big events a year. Our first event is letter-sending, which is where we get students to come to Campus Grounds for one day from 4 – 10 p.m. in the fall and they fill out letters to send to family and friends in hopes of them donating to St. Jude. This is extremely successful. Over the past four years, we have raised more than $200,000 for the hospital. At the end of the year, we have an Up ‘Til Dawn finale with activities and a ton of food. This is where we tell the students how much Mount Union has raised for St. Jude that year. Just this past year, we raised more than $28,000 for the hospital.
My favorite part about being on Executive Board is knowing that I am making a difference. I am not in this organization to build up my resume, but instead to raise money for a cause that benefits children in need. Patients and families at St. Jude don’t have to pay for anything; and by anything I mean food, treatment, shelter and travel. This is possible because of organizations like Up ‘Til Dawn, who take their time to raise money for these families. The children who I met on my visit gave me so much hope and changed my life so this is the least I can do to thank them for what they have done for me.