SRU ‘Up ‘til 2’ crew notes ‘Cancer Never Sleeps’, so neither will we

Slippery Rock University St. Jude “Up ‘til Dawn”  student and staff volunteers

The 2016 Slippery Rock University St. Jude “Up ‘til Dawn” event raised more than $16,000 for the Tennessee-based children’s research hospital.

Jan. 26, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - For most 15-plus credit-carrying, extra-curricularly involved, holding down a part-time job college students, the value of a little rest and relaxation is frequently without compare. At Slippery Rock University however, students are often just as eager to put the brakes on their Netflix and naptime for the sake of a good cause.

Such will be the case Feb. 10 at 8:30 p.m. when participants of the 11th Annual St. Jude "Up 'til 2" will come together in the Aebersold Student Recreation Center under the banner "Cancer Never Sleeps."

During the 5 1/2-hour program - which will be filled with games, prizes and music - SRU students hope to achieve another successful year of fundraising for Memphis, Tennessee-based St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

St. Jude, hailed as a "Best Children's Hospital" by U.S. News and World Report, annually treats more than 7,500 children suffering from childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. More than 75 percent of St. Jude's funding comes from public contributions. Families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food.

Through intense and dedicated research, St. Jude has achieved a leap in childhood cancer survival rates from 20 percent at its 1962 opening to more than 80 percent today.

"To us, 'Up 'til 2' is such a special event," said Taylor Haris, executive director of SRU's St. Jude "Up 'til 2" organization. "Even at this one University in western Pennsylvania, we are raising money and awareness that is directly affecting a hospital - and the lives of so many sick children - nearly 1,000 miles away in Tennessee."

Haris, a senior resort, recreation and hospitality management major from State College, has set a goal of raising $18,000 prior to this year's "Up 'til 2" event, which would result in one big celebration at the ARC. Since 2008, SRU students have raised more than $367,000.

Reaching the $18,000 goal will require the active participation of Haris's fellow SRU students.

"It costs $2.2 million per day to operate St. Jude's, which is one of the reasons they rely so heavily on public donations like ours," said Haris. "That's why I'm encouraging anyone interested in fundraising to say to themselves 'every little bit counts' and then to go for it."

Haris said students looking to get involved can do so in a variety of ways, including: creating "Go Fund Me" pages or soliciting donations from their families, friends or local communities.

"We found that if others see us as people who are passionately invested in a cause, they will want to be a part of it, whether they have a personal connection to SRU or not. It's all about people helping people. And the people we're helping are children suffering from cancer," said Haris.

While participants are not required to fundraise a predetermined sum, students must raise a minimum of $50 in order to take part in the "Up 'til 2" event. All monies collected from the event and the group's fundraising efforts will go directly to the hospital.

The event will provide SRU students with the chance to compete in lip sync battles, engage in a variety of trivia and teamwork challenges, win raffle prizes, enjoy food and a live disc jockey or even get a haircut.

"Our 'Bald is Beautiful' event is one of the most special of the evening," said Haris. "Students can volunteer to shave their head in honor of cancer patients going through chemo treatments. It's a real way to connect with the kids we are trying to help."

For Haris, sharing a connection with the children at St. Jude is what motivates her and fellow members of Rock Nation to put off sleeping for a while.

"This whole event shows students just how important what they are doing is," said Haris. "It gives them the opportunity to see what a school like SRU is able to accomplish.

"The children and families at St. Jude inspire me each day. I have had the opportunity to meet some of these people and their gratitude for what we do on this campus is so genuine and heartwarming, you can't help but be touched by it from the bottom of your heart."

To register for the "Up 'til 2" event or to donate, visit: fundraising.stjude.org/srusjut2.

MEDIA CONTACT: Maizee Zaccone | 724.738.2091 | mxz1016@sru.edu