Up Til Dawn event raises money for hospital

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Students supporting St. Jude Children’s Hospital celebrated their year-long fundraising work with games and prizes at Peters Recreation Complex Friday night.

It was the annual culmination event for Up ‘Til Dawn, a national philanthropy through which money is raised to support the non-profit hospital.

“It [costs] about $1.4 million a day to keep the hospital running, to treat parents and their children – the patients – at no cost,” said Niki Leonard, senior event marketing representative for St. Jude. “So events like this really keep the doors open, and it’s huge that college kids can get involved and do such great things for the hospital.”

Students jumped around a 10 ft. inflatable obstacle course, played video games and volleyball, ate free food and enjoyed live music throughout the night until 1 a.m. in celebration of K-State’s highest donation to the hospital in at least three years.

Julie Hartman, senior in mass communications and K-State Up ‘Til Dawn executive director, said K-State students raised $118,000 to give to St. Jude this year, which she said was “really exciting,” considering the current state of the economy.

“I just think the K-State community has really done a great job of participating,” she said. “Not only the people writing the letters … Every place I went was just so willing to help out, and it really surprised me, especially just the way everything’s been, and I just think the whole year’s been great. It’s really opened my eyes to see how willing people are to donate to such a good cause.”

Entry into the event was a $5 donation or giving five addresses to which letters of donation requests would be sent. Though $118,000 was the total announced Friday night, Hartman said because of the letters, K-State’s contribution will continue to grow throughout the year.

Hartman said last year, K-State ranked 5th in the nation for money raised through Up ‘Til Dawn, which was less than this year’s tentative total. The final numbers will be announced this July at the event’s final conference in Memphis, Tenn., she said.

Reed Pankratz, sophomore in public relations and Up ‘Til Dawn participant, said though there were many new activities at this year’s event, such as video games and music performed by the KSU Pep Band, he enjoyed one of the event’s staple games, volleyball, most.

“I definitely had a lot of fun out there,” Pankratz said of the two basketball and volleyball courts reserved for the event.

Another highlight of the evening was a performance by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.’s step club. Six men stomped and chanted around a basketball court to entertain participants.

“Last year [the fraternity] supported, but didn’t perform,” said Careem Gladney, Alpha Phi Alpha president and step club member. “This year, we’re definitely glad to be back and represent for Up ‘Til Dawn. It’s such a great cause.”

Gladney, senior in finance, said he thought a performance by the step club “would just add to the fun of the night after so much hard work everybody’s put in.”

As the night dwindled down, so did the prizes. Hartman said the biggest prize given away at the close of the event in the last of many drawings throughout the evening was a new iPod Touch. Other prizes included Country Stampede tickets, free massages and $150 gift certificates to stores such as Dillard’s and Kieu’s.

Overall, she said the night was a success.

“We’re really pleased with how everything’s turned out,” Hartman said.

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