On Tuesday, Feb. 4, Murray State hosted the No More Cancer Rally for St. Jude Children’s Hospital to end childhood cancer.
Tuesday marked the 58th anniversary of the hospital’s founding. In those 58 years, the hospital has increased cancer survival rates from 20 percent to 80 percent. Students gathered in the Mason Hall Auditorium to have a fun evening and to raise money for the fight against childhood cancer. The No More Cancer Rally is a prelude to the campus’ main fundraising event, St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn.
“The No More Cancer Rally is a way for our registered participants of St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn to raise their $100 so they can attend the event on Feb. 21-22,” said Kelsey Hatley, executive director of St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn event. “It [is] a way of reaching other people via social media and emails to donate to our school-wide goal that may have not seen it otherwise.”
Students engaged in fundraising challenges to receive points and earn prizes. They tracked their points and fundraising dollars through the St. Jude fundraising app.
“The purpose of the No More Cancer Rally for the school is a fun way to raise your [money],” said Lauren Morgan, public relations director for St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn. “This is kind of a side event leading up to it that encourages people to raise their $100 [and] help share St. Jude’s mission.”
Many students involved with the Up ‘til Dawn program have witnessed cancer battles first hand.
“In summer of 2018, my cousin was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was a St. Jude patient himself,” Hatley said. “I have seen their work first hand and I want to do whatever possible to cure childhood cancer and assure no patient from the hospital receives a bill.”
Emma Pate, from McKenzie, Tennessee, said she was excited for the rally to raise money for the cause.
“I have seen [cancer’s] impact this year, so I thought it was a good cause and a good time to get involved,” Pate said. “[I’m ready to get] hyped up, raise the minimum [monetary] requirement and hopefully raise more than that.”
St. Jude Hospital shares its scientific research freely with the medical community to save children worldwide. Families are never billed for St. Jude’s services, as the hospital’s motto is that “all a family should worry about is helping their child live.” All the money from the St. Jude fundraiser goes to medical research.
“I like Up ‘til Dawn because I want other people to know the benefits of raising money for cancer research,” Morgan said. “St. Jude pays for everything. Treatment, travel, housing, food, everything is covered and nobody has to pay a dime to get treatment there. I think it’s really important that it’s everybody’s mission to give back to those battling. They have sleepless nights and we can stay up just one night to help them out.”
The event is designed to encourage student participation across campus and to increase awareness about what the group is doing for the hospital.
“Participation is everything,” Hatley said. “Without our members, we wouldn’t be able to make the huge impact we have made for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”
Students who want to get involved with Up ‘til Dawn can find registration information here. The Up ‘til Dawn organization also posts Venmo boards on their Instagram, @utdmurraystate, for those who wish to donate.