Up ’til Dawn raises more than $20K for hospital

By Casey Toner

Participants in the Up ‘til Dawn program celebrated raising more than $20,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Friday night at the Student Recreation Center.

Up ‘til Dawn, which was scheduled to run from 9:30 p.m to 4 a.m., was rescheduled for 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. after several fundraisers failed to show.

Participating students wrote letters to relatives and friends asking for donations. Up ‘til Dawn was a celebration of the donations collected. The money raised currently totals about $19,800, but will reach more than $20,000 after the rest of the donations come in, said Brooke Weber, event marketing representative for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital treats children with life-threatening diseases and helps to pay for medical expenses.

“Personally, it brings out this overwhelming feeling that comes from saving lives,” said Crystal Hoppe, Up ‘til Dawn public relations chair.

Among the evening’s entertainers were NIU’s Flawless Dance Troupe and Simon and Garfunkel and Garfunkel, a Wilco cover band. There also was a K-9 unit, two deejays and several guest speakers.

One of the speakers, Bobbi Vanschaick, an elementary school nurse, spoke on behalf of Zoe, a family friend and infant who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and treated by the St. Jude’s Hospital in Peoria.

“To know Zoe is to love someone like you’ve never loved someone before,” Vanschaick said.

Several companies, including Panera Bread and Pizza Hut, donated food and services for the night’s festivities. Community advisers from the Residence Hall Association contributed drinks.