RU students fundraise for St. Jude


At the Up 'til Dawn fundraising event for St. Jude, students created cards and banners to send to children at the research hospital.

The Radford University community rallied into the wee hours of the night last week for an important cause.

About 150 students skipped sleep late Feb. 6 through early Feb. 7 to fundraise for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

The student-led philanthropic program, called Up 'til Dawn, is a nationwide campaign in which college students raise funds for and awareness of St. Jude, a pediatric treatment and research facility focused on children's catastrophic diseases.

The RU event was organized by Students for St. Jude, a campus group that focuses on supporting the children's hospital.

Executive Director Jillian Kelly of Tysons Corner said she and many of her classmates "have a strong connection with children," especially those who might study in RU's education or nursing departments.

"College. It's hard to get to this point in life," Kelly said. "Many kids, who are sick and in the hospital for the majority of their childhood, they may never reach this point."

Held a week before Valentine's Day, the late-night event centered on love.

Students created cards and banners to send to children at the hospital, located in Memphis, Tennessee. Using just a tongue depressor, they drew pictures representing why they "love" St. Jude.

Participants competed in a beauty pageant using garbage bags and ribbons. A lively game of dodge ball and glow-in-the-dark Zumba gave them a much-needed boost.

So did the 60 pizzas donated by Domino's and 300 pancakes donated by RU's Dining Services.

As of Tuesday, the group had raised more than $14,600 for St. Jude. The efforts will continue through April.

To learn more or to make a donation, contact Robert Marias at


One of the late-night events was a beauty pageant in which contestants could only use garbage bags and ribbons to create costumes.

Feb 10, 2015