Jul 05, 2020

Students write relief to children’s hospital patients

In his epistle to the saints, Jude gave counsel for those of spiritual weakness. He encouraged those of spiritual strength for their “compassion, making a difference.”

A children’s research hospital in Memphis, Tenn., which bears the name of the disciple Jude, is requesting that everyone who is able to write their own epistles for those in need of physical relief.

Many Fresno State students accepted that request with enthusiasm at the Save Mart Center last Wednesday in a letter-writing fundraiser known as Up ‘til Dawn to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“We’re stepping up to the plate,” said pre-physical therapy student Nathaniel Malo.

Like many students at Fresno State and around the country, Malo participated in the Up ‘til Dawn event. Students wrote letters to friends and family asking for donations to help the hospital.

The term Up ‘til Dawn was coined to pay homage to all the parents who stay up until the early morning hours with their sick children.

“We have found that letter writing is the most effective means of fundraising,” said Crystal Blaylock, an event marketing representative for St. Jude. “Students don’t have a lot of time, but a letter is personal enough that they can reach out to their family.”

St. Jude opened in 1962 and has since treated children from all 50 states and more than 70 foreign countries.

It is the first institution established for the sole purpose of conducting basic and clinical research in catastrophic childhood diseases, mainly cancer. St. Jude is the largest childhood cancer research center in the world in terms of the number of patients enrolled on research protocols and successfully treated.

More than 100 students participated Wednesday. They also had the opportunity to hear from a St. Jude patient, Sarah Bardona, along with her father, Don.

The Up ‘til Dawn program started in 1999 at the University of Memphis. A group of students at the university wanted to host a fundraising event for St. Jude.

It has now turned into a nationwide event that raises millions of dollars for the hospital.

St. Jude, which is non-sectarian, has approximately 4,900 patients in active status. It treats children without regard to race, religion, creed or ability to pay.

St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatments that are not covered by insurance. Families without insurance are never asked to pay.

The hospital’s daily operating costs are approximately $1.2 million, which are covered primarily by public contributions.

Blaylock said more than 200 universities around the country are now participating in Up ‘til Dawn. California’s own Chico State University was the top fundraiser last year, tallying more than $184,000 for St. Jude.

Fresno State first participated in Up ‘til Dawn in 2006. That year, the univeristy raised $13,000 for the hospital.

“It’s a big deal at many other schools, and we’d like to make it a big deal here too,” said Jeanette Carder, a communications major. “After all, we’re helping save children’s lives.”

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