Miners Up ‘til Dawn

Mireille Paquette (left), Jake Zorn and Brett Payne are organizing a fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Photo by Sam O'Keefe.

Mireille Paquette (left), Jacob Zorn and Brett Payne organized a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Photo by Sam O’Keefe.

Missouri S&T students’ year-long fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital culminated with Up ‘til Dawn, an all-night event for students that took place on Friday, April 26. In its third year, the student-organized event has raised more than $55,000 for the hospital to-date. This year’s goal was $30,000.

PacketBottom“What’s unique about St. Jude — despite $1.9 million dollar operating costs each day — is that no patient is ever billed for treatment,” says Mireille Paquette, a senior in engineering management from Chesterfield, Mo. “They believe in saving kids despite their financial situations.”

St. Jude is an internationally recognized biomedical research center founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas. Its work is supported primarily through public contributions raised by events like St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn, which covers costs beyond those reimbursed by third-party insurers, and all costs when no insurance is available.

Paquette coordinated the event with Brett Payne, a junior in petroleum engineering from Imperial, Mo., and Jacob Zorn, a freshman in ceramic engineering from Moscow Mills, Mo.

Last summer, Paquette and Payne spent a weekend in Memphis, Tenn., at the Collegiate Leadership Seminar, which is held annually at St. Jude. The three-day workshop gives students fundraising skills to help them host a successful fundraising event for the hospital.

“After visiting there, it helped me realize that more than anything St. Jude is a community for the children and their families going through similar experiences,” says Paquette. “They try to make the kids feel at home and live a life as normal as possible.

“They have teachers to help the kids keep up with their school work, as well as different social activities,” she says. “Instead of using wheelchairs, patients are pulled in wagons. They have ‘No-Mo Chemo’ parties when patients finish up their chemotherapy treatments and a cafeteria with an ice cream bar and kid-friendly foods.”

Although the first year of fundraising for St. Jude at S&T was primarily done by Greek organizations, other campus groups have joined the effort, including the Residence Hall Association.

Up ‘til Dawn included an appearance by “The Dating Doctor” David Coleman, a popular speaker on campuses, as well as entertainment, music, food, games and competitions.

“I think it’s a huge opportunity for S&T,” says Paquette. “To be able to show as a campus that we did this all together is really cool and it’s an opportunity to raise awareness to everyone else. You can get involved in this and really make a difference.”

By Linda Fulps