The university’s teams hope to raise $50,000 by the end of October.
Texas Tech University finished second in the nation in the St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn Executive Board Fundraising Challenge for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, coming in behind the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
By the June 30 deadline for the national ranking, Texas Tech's teams raised $7,865. But the fundraising will continue until Oct. 30, one week before Texas Tech's Up ‘til Dawn event, from midnight to 6 a.m. Nov. 6 at the Robert H. Ewalt Student Recreation Center. The theme is “Stay Up For Good,” and the event will feature activities, food, prizes and sponsors.
“I am extremely proud of Texas Tech St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn's executive board and participants,” said team captain and co-executive director Lauren Preiss, a senior nursing student from Round Rock. “We are very thankful for each student's dedication and our generous sponsors. Last year we reached our goal by raising $30,000. This year, our goal is $50,000. When we reach this goal, the other co-executive director, Evan O'Leary, will shave his head in honor of the kids of St. Jude.”
The Up ‘til Dawn concept is best explained in two sentences from the Texas Tech teams' fundraising website: “Parents lose sleep over their kids all of the time. Will you do it for one night?”
O'Leary said he is proud to be part of such an involved and generous community.
“I believe it speaks volumes about the spirit of Texas Tech,” said O'Leary, a senior finance major from Midland. “As only our third year participating, to have so many people working to raise money in such a short amount of time is astounding. Knowing this, I have no doubt we will meet our goal of $50,000 by November.”
St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital works to find cures to childhood cancers. Research done there has helped push the survival rate for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent in 1962 to more than 80 percent today, according to its website.
“There is nothing more humbling than knowing I am directly impacting the lives of the families and children of St. Jude,” Preiss said. “The families and children should not have to worry about finances during such a critical time. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. It is my honor to be a small part of this extraordinary program.”
Because the success of St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn is made possible through the combined efforts of everyone associated with the program, Preiss said everyone is important.
“That is the same message students receive from the beginning of their relationship with Texas Tech,” she said. “We simply carry through that same attitude in our fundraising efforts. We need every volunteer and dollar, but more importantly, St. Jude needs us. There's a place for everyone in St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn, whether it's making a donation, being a team member or serving in a leadership position. We hope more and more Red Raiders lend their time, talent and support to St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn this year and for years to come.”
Texas Tech's Up ‘til Dawn executive board is still looking to recruit new teams to help raise money for St. Jude. Teams of six can register here and receive donations through the website.
“It is a privilege to be able to work with an organization that is so dedicated to its patients and its cause,” O'Leary said. “However, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is completely nonprofit and relies on people like us to keep it running. We will need as many Red Raiders to get involved as we can. I'm thankful for everyone who has participated so far and am looking forward to seeing how well we perform this year.”