Approximately 250 William Woods University students plan to travel to a make-believe Las Vegas to do a little pretend gambling. However, their motives are real, and the effort to raise money for a good cause is a “sure thing.”
The event, which starts at 7 p.m., Tuesday (Oct. 27), will be held in Tucker Dining Hall.
This is the sixth year WWU students have conducted fundraising events to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which treats children who have cancer. Up ‘til Dawn has raised approximately $60,000 since the group was started on campus in 2004. The student-run organization does it through a variety of fundraising events, culminating in the annual letter-writing party.
The Vegas theme for this year’s letter-writing party will be carried out with “casinos” representing Treasure Island, Hard Rock, Caesars Palace and Circus Circus. Special guest at the event will be a child who has been treated at St. Jude.
“We have an executive board that plans events throughout the year to keep students interested and involved,” Brianna Barnard, assistant executive director of Up ‘til Dawn at WWU, said. Students on campus make teams and collect 35-50 addresses to bring to the event.”
Mike Towle, executive director, explained, “Every person brings their addresses and they fill out pre-written letters to their family, friends and neighbors, asking for donations for St. Jude. The goal this year is to raise $24,000.”
Students will experience their own celebrity moment as they enter Tucker Dining Hall on a red carpet. Free food and live entertainment will be provided, including a live DJ, card tables, games and many prizes. Videos about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will play throughout the night.
“It is a really exciting event and a great way to raise money for helping St. Jude,” Barnard, said. “Most of all, it’s a fun way to get students on campus involved.”
Up ’til Dawn is hosted by more than 180 college campuses across the country. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, located in Memphis, provides treatment to cancer patients at no cost to the family.
“It costs $1 million a day to run St. Jude, and with organizations like Up ‘til Dawn, the families will not ever have to spend a penny for treatment,” Barnard said.
St Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world.