Students rally for St. Jude

Last week, a number of Carnegie Mellon students wore tiaras, played with coloring books, and rode in Radio Flyer wagons around campus.

All of this was part of Up ‘til Dawn’s “Be A Kid Again” week. The leaders of the program hoped for students to remember their childhood and the dream-filled days they had, in light of the program’s cause: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for kids with cancer.

Up ‘til Dawn is St. Jude’s student-run program that seeks to raise awareness for the hospital and its mission.

Through a letter-writing fundraising campaign, the program helps students educate their peers, friends, and families about the hospital, its research, and the children that go to it for assistance.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital relies deeply on donations to conduct research and provide state-of-the-art treatments for children at no cost to families, even if they do not have health care.

With the hefty cost of $1.3 million each day to run the hospital, Carnegie Mellon students have decided to get involved by organizing a fundraising event for the hospital.

“Every child should be able to live out their dreams,” said Michelle Pena, a senior business administration major and the program’s Logistics Chair.

Jessica Chuang, a junior science and humanities scholar and the program’s Public Relations Chair; Whitney Ladzick, a sophomore civil engineering major and the program’s assistant director; and Pena visited the hospital over the summer to observe the lively activity and imagination of the children.

“One girl wanted passionately to go to NYU,” Pena said.

Pena believes that such talk of the future is important because although these children are sick, they all still have hopes and dreams.

“Helping these children can give them the ability to apply for college, and maybe even get them their acceptance letter to CMU,” Pena said.

Chuang said that St. Jude has been helping children around the world for 40 years and continues to share its research with the global medical community.

“They are seeking to cure cancer in children,” Pena said, “and no one is denied treatment” — including those who live abroad or who lack the money to get the expensive treatments.

The Up ‘til Dawn letter-writing campaign will be held Oct. 23, when each participant will be asked to send 50 letters requesting donations to their friends and family.

“Although the goal is 50, 25 letters is still good,” Pena said, “[because] the money has no problem coming in.”

Pena said that for each letter sent, an average of $30 is donated to St. Jude.

Program participants have another unique event to look forward to — a party later in the school year.

“Those who participate in the letter-writing event will be invited to an Up ‘til Dawn party,” Chuang said.

More information on Up ‘til Dawn can be found at ( or by e-mailing