Three hundred and nineteen SRU students and other participants raised $68,767 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, exceeding the goal of $30,000 on Feb. 8 at the fundraising event St. Jude Up ’til 2.
The attendance at this year’s event was higher than participation in previous years. Thirty-seven teams registered with 35 showing up to compete on the night of the event. The night consisted of numerous group games, dancing, lip sync battles, food and friendship.
The theme for this event was “decades,” wherein each hour corresponded with a different decade, starting with the 60’s when the St. Jude Children’s Hospital first opened.
Numerous volunteers arrived at 6 p.m. and stayed until 3 a.m. to help set up and tear down the event and decorations. Throughout the night, volunteers assisted in setting up games for team competitions.
Morgan Simkovic, junior exercise science pre-physical therapy major, held the executive director position on the E-board.
The speaker of the event was Simkovic’s brother, who is a cancer survivor.
“The opening ceremony [was my favorite part],” Simkovic said. “My brother is a St. Jude patient, and it was a really emotional thing having him there. He did the first shave on, ironically, my boyfriend’s head when we did ‘Bald is Beautiful.’”
Erika Beers, a senior exercise science major who held the event and logistics director position on the E-board, said, “I really liked seeing the campus come together and fundraise as much as they do.”
Beers was a participant her freshman year and was on the E-board the past year as well.
“This is my last event, but it was one of the best decisions I made,” Beers said.
Kemoni Farmer, a junior psychology major and criminology minor and volunteer at the event, said, “We are being educated…having a cancer survivor share his story at the beginning, that really touched a lot of people’s hearts.”
For some other members, it was their first year on the E-board. Hailey Schaffold, a junior biology major and chemistry minor, held the Greek chair on the E-board and hopes to be on the E-board next year.
“I love it,” Schaffold said. “It’s been like another family to me in a way. It’s such a wholesome place when you walk into the room, but everyone’s so welcoming and supportive of what you are and what you do. We’re just here to help kids.”
Schaffold’s dad used to work in a children’s hospital as a chef.
“He would cook for the kids and come home with stories all the time,” Schaffold said.
Participants also found the importance of the event. Christina Donatelli, a sophomore dual early childhood special education major and Spanish minor, said, “[The event] supports the ending of childhood cancer, and I feel that no child should have to go through something that demanding so early on.”
“Just think, instead of you sitting in a hospital for nights and nights, not being able to get out of your bed or not be able to run around because of cancer or whatever it is, just be appreciative that you can stand on your own two feet,” Schaffold said. “You can run around, play games, lip sync and eat pizza. It’s a life-changing thing to come here and just really puts into perspective where you are in life.”
“I’m proud of our university because a small little school is giving St. Jude $68,000,” Simkovic said. “Our campus should be incredibly proud.”