Students raise funds for children's hospital


Special to The Hays Daily News

Up 'til Dawn volunteers stood outside several businesses April 14 in Hays collecting money and spreading awareness about St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in a fundraiser known as the super canning event.

The hospital, founded by entertainer Danny Thomas in 1962, is one of the leading research institutions in the world in trying to eradicate childhood cancer. No child ever is turned away because of a lack of ability to pay. Patient treatment and research are funded entirely by volunteer donations. St. Jude also shares its research findings with other doctors and medical facilities throughout the world.

The Fort Hays State University chapter of Up 'til Dawn consists of President Megan Colson, Medicine Lodge senior, and 12 board members.

"Up 'til Dawn is a student-led, student-run fundraising program here at Fort Hays State University," Colson said. "You can find it all over the United States. Over 250 campuses have Up 'til Dawn."

Up 'til Dawn is known for its annual letter-writing event, at which an average of 250 students come together to write a minimum of 50 letters apiece requesting donations for the hospital, located in Memphis, Tenn.

Each year, Up 'til Dawn chapters have a fundraising goal they would like to reach, Colson said. This year FHSU's chapter goal is $40,000.

In recent years, Colson said, Up 'til Dawn has been branching out in order to reach the Hays community, in addition to the FHSU community. Up 'til Dawn members hoped this year's super canning event would help accomplish their goal.

The event took place at four local businesses, Walgreens, Dillons on Vine Street, The Mall and Kwik Shop. Volunteers stood outside the locations with decorated donation cans and informational flyers to pass out to store customers in hopes of obtaining donations.

The super-canning event started at 10 a.m. and was supposed to last until 3 p.m. However, severe weather, including pouring rain, cut it short, Colson said. In spite of the bad weather, Colson said volunteers raised more than $800 to add to their goal of $40,000.

"It is a great way to not only raise funds, but also to spread awareness about what Up 'til Dawn is at Fort Hays State, not just on campus, but also in the community," Colson said.

"Last year we did an event similar to this soliciting donations at Walmart and raised over $500 in three hours, so I knew based off of that information we could easily do either the same amount or more, but we wanted to expand it."

Ashlee Fox, Hill City senior, is a student at Fort Hays State University majoring in art and communication studies with an emphasis in public relations.