On Feb. 8, Maryville College hosted the Up ‘til Dawn letter writing event in
Bartlett Hall. The annual event is an opportunity for students and faculty to write
letters in order to try to raise funds for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital is located in Memphis, Tenn. and treats
children with all types of cancer. It costs 1.7 million dollars a day to run the hospital.
The hospital is dedicated to curing children’s cancer and no family is turned away
from the hospital because of inability to pay. Whatever isn’t covered by insurance is
covered by the hospital.
“It’s really great for a family dealing with a lot of health issues get treatment for
free,” said Adam Garrison, coordinator of student involvement and intramurals
The hospital operates off donations and the collegiate program aims to inform
students of ways to be involved and to help support St. Jude’s Children’s Research
Since its founding, the amount of survival rate of children with cancer has grown
exponentially. “When the hospital opened in 1962, four percent of kids survived a
certain kind of cancer; now it’s 94 percent,” said Kristen Gourley, director of campus
life and co- advisor of Up ‘til dawn. With substantial donations, the hospital has been
able to operate and help families in need.
The letter-writing event consists of students coming and filling out pre-written
letters and sending them out to ask for donations to help St. Jude’s. The proceeds
raised by the Up ‘til dawn program goes directly to the hospital and aids families
with paying for their child’s treatment.
Up ‘til dawn raised over $10,000 last year through the letter-writing event.
“We typically have about 60 students come out to write letters,” said Ashley
Avans, MC sophomore. The program encourages all students to write letters sign up
either as a team or individually.
“Any money that we can raise to donate that t could help a family stay in Memphis
and get the treatment that they need to help get their kids better is something that
I’m happy to be a part of,” Garrison said.
Up ‘til dawn plans to have other events before the end of the semester and hopes
that everyone can come out and support St. Jude’s.
For more information, check out the video on the Highland Echo webpage or
contact Kristen Gourley.