Photo courtesy of StJude.org
BY HALEY HODGES
Every year, Drake University’s branch of Phi Delta Chi, a professional pharmacy fraternity, does something in support of their philanthropy, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Since 2013, Drake’s branch has decided to put on an Up ‘Til Dawn event to fundraise for and in support of St. Jude.
“St. Jude is a great cause on its own. It helps children who are facing cancer,” Taylor Schwebke, the events and logistics director for the event, said. “They don’t charge the families, they don’t charge for research, they don’t charge anything, so just the fact that it’s a great cause in general and it’s a nice way to support it.”
Up ‘Til Dawn asks people who are interested in participating to raise at least a hundred dollars and then they can attend the event.
Up ‘Til Dawn is a celebration for what the fundraising participants did. The event starts at midnight on Saturday, Nov. 19 and goes all night until 6 a.m.
“The whole point of the night is to celebrate all of the efforts of raising the money for the kids at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Throughout the night we have little mission moments where we hear patient’s actual stories on how they got to the hospital and how the hospital has helped them,” said Piper Swanson, co-director of the event. “That’s one of my most favorite parts because you get to see and hear the way that, by fundraising, you’re making an impact. Since the hospital has opened, the success rate on childhood cancer has went from like 20 to 80 percent and they’re not going to stop at all until they reach a 100 percent. By fundraising, the whole thing with St. Jude Research Hospital is that no family has to pay for medical bills or transportation or anything.”
Swanson said the Executive Board for Up ‘Til Dawn has been meeting once a week since April. Different committees are responsible for varying elements of the upcoming event from recruitment to planning one of the games.
“I have a team of ten people that I’m in charge of,” Schwebke said. “There’s people that plan opening and closing, people who plan the first event, second event, third event, and then there’s the side events team. I’m in charge of setting up what we do with our weekly meeting for them, helping them if they need assistance, and reporting back to our co-chairs.”
Kathryn Vollmer is the director of recruitment and is responsible for promoting the event to other groups and students in order to get enough participants and donations.
“With recruitment, my committee has attended most of our ramp up events and at a lot of those events we try to educate people on what St Jude is and our goal for the event … So at these ramp up events we try to have fun and pump people up for the event because the event is meant to be a celebration for everyone’s hard work fundraising for the hospital,” Vollmer said. “I just want all of the participants to have fun and celebrate for all of the work they’ve done.”
All branches of Phi Delta Chi raise money for St. Jude but Drake is the only one to do the Up ‘Til Dawn event.
Some other schools around the country put on the event but Drake is consistently one of the highest contributors, currently ranking as the number 10 school in the nation despite being a small school.
Last year, they raised about $40,000 and this year the goal is to get it up to $45,000.
“We commonly said during our executive board meetings that it’s for the kids,” said Shawna Seibel, a member of the Events and Logistics team under Schwebke. “It’s something we say to help us fully understand that the time we’re putting into it is worth it. Children are diagnosed with these terrible diseases that St. Jude helps families out with. All of their research they open up to the public to fight these diseases the best they can, and by using the saying ‘For the kids’ it motivates us and keeps us going.”