SIU students raise money for cancer research

By Muriel Berry

October is childhood cancer awareness month and various students are getting involved by raising funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital through participating in the Up ‘til Dawn event.

According to the hospital’s website, St. Jude’s mission is to advance cures and means of prevention, for pediatric diseases through research and treatment for children despite their race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.

The hospital has collaborated with SIU in past years, holding six previous Up ‘til Dawn events. Each school year the hospital sends regional directors to different universities in an effort to recruit people to fundraise.


Up ’til Dawn is an overnight competition, which will take place Nov. 8 to the morning of Nov. 9 at various locations throughout campus. In order for students to participate, they have to form a team of six and raise at least $600 by the day of the event.

Rachel Slick, a junior from Roscoe studying social work and Spanish, is director of Up ‘til Dawn and said the hospital’s representatives give the organization all of the materials to fundraise.

She said SIU was one of the first universities chosen to collaborate with St. Jude because of its high enrollment and the executive board of Up ‘til Dawn works together to plan events and recruit members from all over campus.

“Every year our goal is to have a recruitment person to target different groups to encourage campus wide participation,” Slick said. “The only requirement to participate is to be a student of SIU.”

She also said recruiting freshman is beneficial because if they have fun raising money in their first year, they will be more likely to participate when they are upperclassmen.

Melanie Kurinec, a senior from Mt. Prospect studying communication studies, is a public relations director for the organization and said it had been recruiting since Sept. 22 to get people registered for Up ‘til Dawn.

“In the past, it has been the largest Greek event,” she said. “Up ‘til Dawn shifted from a letter writing event to more of an ‘Amazing Race’ format so we’re expecting a larger outcome.”


Tara Lowry, a freshman from St. Louis studying radio television and digital arts, said she wants to raise money for St. Jude because she understands what it’s like to come from an underprivileged background.

“I have nieces and nephews and I know that if they were to come down with this disease, my family probably wouldn’t have the resources to pay for their treatment,” she said. “Your financial situation shouldn’t dictate weather or not you get a chance to live.”

Lowry said she thinks people who do not have family members who are affected by cancer should participate as well.

Kurinec said around 150 students participated in Up ‘Till Dawn last year, raising more than $45,000. This year the organization plans to raise $55,000.The money the university raises for St. Jude goes toward research, treatment and administration.

Slick said students could sign up to fundraise by visiting