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Can You Stay Up ’til Dawn?





Up ‘til Dawn is a student organization at Loyola University Chicago that exists to support St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The hospital located in Memphis, Tennessee, operates completely on donations. Up ‘til Dawn is a vehicle that raises awareness nationwide at various universities and communities.

At Loyola, the organization works to promote awareness on campus and holds several events throughout the year. The club meets once per week led by four executive student leaders that lead the club and organize events, meetings, and other club related affairs. Kyra Maree, Michael Maier, Neetu Perumpel, and Joesph Westrich are the leaders of the club at Loyola.

To get involved with Up ‘til Dawn, students can attend a meeting, which typically meets every Thursday in Mundelein room 303 at 6:30 P.M. The club is also present at the student organization fair each semester. Michael Maier, the secretary of the club said, “Usually everyone doesn’t come so were really looking for more support”. There are about 300 people on the email list but usually around ten people attend each week not counting the four board leaders. Currently, Loyola University Chicago is the only school in Chicago to host an Up ‘til Dawn program.

The main event put on by the organization each semester is the letter writing party. The organization chooses a central location that many students pass through (such as the CFSU) to hold it. Students then write letters to friends and family asking for donations that are sent directly to St. Jude’s Hospital. The organization provides everything participants need to write the letters.

When asked what the letter writing party was, Michael Maier explained, “There’s food, music, and entertainment; like Loyola acopallea and other Loyola affiliated performances and groups. People come to the CFSU; we set up tables and give people everything they need to write a letter. Then, if you write a certain amount of letters you get a free t-shirt, anyone that writes a letter gets to eat free food. Last year we had chipotle!” The name “Up ‘til Dawn” is named as such because the idea for the letter writing party is to stay up until dawn writing letters for St. Jude’s Hospital. The name also pays respect to the reality of how many parents care for and stay up until dawn with their sick children.

Recruitment chairperson Kyra Maree leads the meetings each week and became very involved with the organization after interning for St. Jude’s Hospital’s Chicago branch. She attended the letter writing party last year and was immediately hooked and ambitious towards the things Up til’ dawn stands for. When asked why she was involved with the club she replied, “I am involved because I became so passionate about it. I work to see that no child every dies from cancer again and no family has to hear the words “your child has cancer.”” Maree visited the hospital in Memphis to witness first hand how the work and care the organization puts fourth truly makes a difference.

Danny Thomas established St. Jude’s children’s research hospital in 1962. The hospital treats over 260 patients each day and mainly focus on identifying and curing childhood diseases, specifically cancer. The hospital has been named the number one pediatric hospital in the country by Parents Magazine. The cost to operate the hospital each day is about 1.8 million dollars, which is completely paid for my public donations. Despite the name, the center is not a Catholic hospital with no religious affiliation. One example of the hospital’s ambitious efforts was St. Jude’s success to develop a cure for sickle cell disease via a bone marrow transplant.

The hospital saved the life of a girl named Avery, now three years old; she was diagnosed with a brain tumor on her first birthday. She spent most of her childhood at the hospital and has since had the tumor removed. However, the cancer has returned in the form of multiple tumors. Avery’s best hope to be cured is through radiation therapy offered by the skilled doctors at St. Jude’s. Up ‘til Dawn one of the main organizations that keeps the hospital afloat and providers for kids like Avery.

All though Loyola’s Up ‘til Dawn program is small, it is also very mighty and hard working. As well as the upcoming letter party, the group is planning on hosting a “Car Smash” event this spring. It will be another way for the club to fundraise in a more fun and interactive way. Basically people will give donations to St. Jude’s through Up ‘til Dawn in exchange for an opportunity to smash a car with a sledgehammer. Up til’ Dawn at Loyola hopes this event will become a tradition each year for the University as a way to bring the community together for a good cause.

Outside Loyola the Up ‘til Dawn programs tend to be much larger. They’re more on par with charities like Relay for Life and may be held in sports arenas or fields. Loyola’s Up ‘til Dawn hopes to grow and expand and sometime book the gentile center and make a lot of noise of the cause. Mike Maier the group’s secretary said, “We’re more on a smaller scale, where people just do it for an evening instead of the whole night. We’re really trying to work our way up there as big as other schools are. That’s really what our goal is.”

Fueled by the hospitals founder Danny Thomas’s idea that “No child should die in the dawn of life,” Up ‘til Dawn at Loyola continues to grow and expand as an organization. They are constantly urging more people to join the club and have ambitious plans for the organizations future.


Fight the Yawn

Up ’til Dawn’s Facebook Page


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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.