FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2008
Contact: K.E. Schwab
SRU's 'Up 'til 2' project raises thousands for St. Jude Hospital
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Put nearly 300 enthusiastic Slippery Rock University students, thousands of letters explaining the work done at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and a ton of stamped envelopes in a room, add games, exercises, dance moves, loud music and camaraderie and what is the result? Donations totaling $20,939.15 to help support the hospital's pediatric cancer research.
Stephen Ginter, event marketing representative at the hospital, told a group of SRU volunteers gathered for a thank-you luncheon that last September's "Up 'til 2" program at the Robert N. Aebersold Student Recreation Center "raised enough money to support one child for one month of chemotherapy at the hospital. You did a great job." Ginter said the hospital spends about $1.25 million per day in operations and cancer research.
At the celebration conclusion, Paula Olivero, assistant vice president for student development, told students she would donate the $60.85 needed to make SRU's contribution an even $21,000.
Last fall, J.C. Lopez, an SRU graduate student working with Living Learning Programs in the Office of Residence Life, contacted Ginter to get the philanthropy project rolling at SRU. Ginter says it usually takes 12 months to organize such an event. "At SRU, the project was organized and successfully completed in only three months."
More than 230 colleges and universities across the nation sponsor similar "Up 'til Dawn" programs to benefit the Memphis-based hospital founded in 1962 by the late entertainer Danny Thomas. His daughter Marlo continues the work.
In the "Up 'til 2" program, students enjoy a late night of games, exercise, dance, snacks and fellowship while addressing letters seeking contributions from their family and friends. The personalized letters are mailed by the hospital's fund raising arm. Patients treated at the hospital and their family members also joined in the festivities. St. Jude's is the largest pediatric cancer treatment and research facility in the world.
More than 19,000 children from the U.S. and 70 countries have been treated for various forms of cancer, sickle cell disease and pediatric HIV-AIDS at the hospital since its founding. The current cure rate stands at more than 70 percent. While insurance payments are accepted, patients without insurance receive free medical treatment.
Jaime Russell, Living Learning coordinator in the Office of Residence Life, commended the volunteers who established the program. "We challenged our living learning community assistants to support one of our department values, the value of 'global citizenship.' We asked them to focus on service and this amazing program was the result. We are so proud of the staff, students, families and friends that made this effort such a success."
Work is already under way in planning a similar event for fall semester.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.