A playlist filled with 2000s Disney music blared while fundraisers gathered around tables to make posters last Friday night. When the clock struck midnight, participants were bussed to the Greater Peoria Family YMCA, where they would enjoy dodgeball, laser tag, obstacle courses and other activities until 5 a.m.
Around 100 Bradley students participated in the St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn, which raised $27,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a charity that provides free treatment to children with cancer.
A parent whose child is with St. Jude is never sent a bill for treatment, housing, food or treatments as part of the program.
“Bradley students stay up all night to kind of simulate how the parents of St. Jude have sleepless nights because they’re staying up all night worrying about their kids,” said Natalie Conroy, co-executive director of Bradley’s Up ‘til Dawn organization and a senior accounting major.
Conroy has been involved since her freshman year, and her grandfather and mother were involved with the organization as well.
“It’s kind of a family tradition,” she said.
The executive board has been planning the event since May of this year. Members of Up ‘til Dawn began fundraising over the summer at local businesses in Peoria and their hometowns.
Anyone who signs up to attend the Up ‘til Dawn event has to raise at least $100 for the charity. The Up ‘til Dawn staff also raises money through rallies and initiatives such as the ABC’s of cancer, in which businesses and individuals can purchase artwork and writing done by the children helped by St. Jude.
“The Fieldhouse has helped us quite a lot,” said Liz Arriss, the Up ‘til Dawn fundraising director and a senior nursing major. “Along with Domino’s, donating to every single one of our events.”
The $27,000 raised fell short of last year’s $34,722. Conroy noted that the later date of the event compared to other charity events may have limited the amount of donations. She said the event went well, despite a brief issue with one of the buses getting lost on the way to the YMCA.
Throughout the night, participants who took part in the various activities could win points, which were totaled up at the end.
“It was amazing, I loved it,” said Jenny Geers, a senior accounting and management information systems double major, whose team won first place with the most points. “We got balloon hats, we played laser tag, there was fun prizes … I had such a fun time.”
According to Conroy, the event went smoothly.
“I think the event went really well,” Conroy said. “We had a great turnout. All of our participants seemed to have a lot of fun with all our events.”
To find upcoming events and to donate visit stjude.org for more details.