University of Nebraska at Kearney Holds Record of Highest Funds Raised by a First Year School for St. Jude’s ‘Up ‘Till Dawn’ Event

Tracy Lungrin
Greek adviser and leadership coordinator, 308.865.8519

The 2009 University of Nebraska at Kearney St. Jude’s “Up ‘til Dawn” event is scheduled from 5-11 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 26, at the Ponderosa Room at the Nebraskan Student Union.

St. Jude’s “Up ‘til Dawn” is a student-led, student-run philanthropic program hosted by colleges and universities nationwide. Students help raise awareness and support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through a variety of activities. Last year, the first UNK “Up ‘til Dawn” fund-raiser set a record of highest funds raised by a first year school. More than $40,000 was raised when approximately 300 students wrote over 10,000 fund-raising letters to family, friends and acquaintances.

“Students who write 35 or more letters this year will be entered into a Nintendo Wii drawing,” said Amy Kratochvil ofKearney, student executive director. “We will be serving a build your own sundae bar at the event will live entertainment, and we will also be giving away prizes throughout the night.”

UNK is one of 385 colleges and universities nationwide that participates in “Up ‘til Dawn.” The funds raised are equal to approximately one-tenth of the cost of a child’s two-and-a-half year treatment for the most common form of cancer, ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia).

“So many students participated, we had to open an airwall and set up tables so that we could accommodate everyone,” said Amanda Ward, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital senior event marketing representative of last year’s event.

Tyler Macke of Grand Island and Kendra Francke of Waverly worked jointly with UNK Greek Life coordinator Tracy Lungrin and Ward to bring “Up ‘til Dawn” to the UNK campus. The students recruited an executive committee composed of student leaders from a variety of campus organizations.

Kratochvil and student assistant director Madeline Mawby, also of Kearney, and Lungrin joined more than 800 students and advisers in the three-day St. Jude “Up ‘til Dawn” leadership seminar in Memphis, Tenn., this past summer. The students were selected to attend the leadership seminar based on their office within the UNK “Up ‘til Dawn” executive board. The conference celebrated the 10th anniversary of the “Up ‘til Dawn” collegiate program.

Attendees toured the St. Jude’s Hospital and learned the history of its founding. Participants also heard from St. Jude patients, attended workshops on how to best implement the “Up ‘til Dawn” fund-raising effort on their campus and network with other schools who participate in the program.

“I learned some great new ways to expand our program, achieve more campus involvement, and to make ‘Up ’til Dawn’ more fun and exciting,” Kratochvil said. “I also learned some new ways to put us out there through the public relations workshop they facilitated.”

“My favorite part of the seminar was being able to see some of the kids that we helped with the funds raised last year,” Mawby said. “It was also touching to hear from the families who have benefited from St. Jude.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures, and saving children with cancer and other diseases. The hospital is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.

Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment that is not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fund-raising organization. More information is available

The UNK St. Jude’s “Up ‘til Dawn” executive committee members are listed alphabetically by hometown and position:
Alma– Sara Sindt, logistics
Campbell– Rachel Hall, logistics
Eddyville– Laura Matthies, teams
Eustis– Ryan Wetovich, teams
Fairbury– Sarah Mach, logistics
Holdrege– Cory Shield, fund-raising
Kearney– Mackenzie Bohl, public relations; Amy Kratochvil, executive
director; Madeline Mawby, assistant director; and Stephanie Rash, advocacy.
McCook– Sam Post, morale
Merna– Katie Griffith, public relations
Omaha– Amy Hartigan, sponsorship
Papillion– Jordan Higgins, teams
Ralston– Kaitlin Doty, entertainment

Windsor– Michelle Hermesch, sponsorship
West Palm Beach– Lacy Thornsburry, morale

Herndon– Kendra Solko, teams

Burnsville– Paige Wewel, entertainment

St. Joe– Rachael Cochran, advocacy
Madison– Taylor Boyte, fundraising