Macon- Mercer University students will "party all night" Friday and Saturday, Feb. 20 and Feb. 21, as part of their third annual Up 'til Dawn overnight finale event to raise awareness and support for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The event will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, and will end at 7 a.m. Saturday.
The public is invited to join the students, faculty, and staff for the 12-hour celebration for the kids of St. Jude in the gymnasium of Mercer's Human Resources and Recreation building. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children. All proceeds benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
"The finale event is our last effort to raise money and also show our excitement for a great year helping St. Jude," said Ben Coursey, co-campus fundraising chair and senior chemistry major at Mercer. "Over the past two years, we have raised more than $26,000 for St. Jude, money that will help the hospital continue to make advancements in cancer research and help provide care for children who need it."
Entertainment for the evening will include volleyball and basketball tournaments, salsa dancing lessons, a spades tournament and a step show performed by Mercer's AGAPE religious organization to boost spirit and keep the crowd energized through the pre-dawn hours. Three patients from St. Jude will speak at 8:30 p.m. about how St. Jude has helped them.
The event celebrates the students' hard work throughout the school year raising money through letter writing and fundraisers such as raffles, a bachelor auction and car-washes.
While the total amount of money raised this school year will be announced at the finale event, Up 'til Dawn will continue collecting funds for a few more months. The organization hopes to assist St. Jude in continuing to make advancements in cancer research as well as providing medical care for children.
"Up 'til Dawn is a unique organization that students can really learn from while supporting a wonderful cause and having fun. I have made new friends and gained valuable leadership and teamwork skills that I use everyday by being involved in Up 'til Dawn." said Up 'til Dawn Executive Director Ami Patel, a senior biology major. "Because of organizations like Up 'til Dawn at Mercer, students are helping to save kids' lives."
Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude is an internationally recognized biomedical research center in Memphis, Tenn., dedicated to finding cures for catastrophic diseases of childhood. The hospital's work in supported by funds raised by the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC). ALSAC covers all costs not covered by insurance for medical treatment rendered at St. Jude. Families without insurance are never asked to pay. For more information on St. Jude, visit www.stjude.org
Founded in 1833, Mercer University has campuses in Macon and Atlanta as well as three regional academic centers. With 10 schools and colleges, the University offers programs in liberal arts, business, engineering, education, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law and theology. For 14 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Mercer University as one of the leading universities in the South. The Princeton Review has listed Mercer among The Best 351 Colleges in North America.