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Students look to fight, prevent cancer with Up 'Til Dawn

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Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 6:34 pm

It has over 41 symptoms; blood clots, hair loss, difficulty chewing, sleeping, swallowing and nausea - just to name a few. According to the National Cancer Institute in 2007, 10,400 children under the age of 15 were diagnosed with cancer. This week, Northwest is lending a helping hand through Up 'Til Dawn sponsoring events in efforts to raise awareness and money for St. Jude's Hospital.

For over five years, Northwest has been a part of this movement to support research and healthcare for cancer patients. Up 'Til Dawn is a student run organization where over 200 colleges and universities, nation-wide, participate in campaigning and fundraising for St. Jude's. Established in 1998, the name was derived from the celebration event that teams across the nation partake in each year as they sacrifice a night's sleep to honor patients and family members who experience many sleepless nights.

Junior Anissa DeMarr, is one of the team's co-chair representatives on the St. Jude's executive board and has had the pleasure of being involved with this epidemic for the last three years.

"I participated because I feel that what our organization does and all the efforts of campus students is for such a great cause," DeMarr said. "Doing something bigger than myself is important to me."

Every month, the teams host a fundraising event, this week's focus has been on raising awareness and encouraging others to participate. Monday, the teams distributed flyers and stickers but switched it up Tuesday to host a bake sale outside of the J.W. Jones Student Union. On Wednesday they accepted donations from residents of Roberta Hall as they collected their trash. Today, is "Register yourself and your team" day from 10 a.m. to 1 the Union. Coffee and stickers are distributed Friday and on Saturday the teams from Northwest will compete with teams from Pittsburg State University to collect the most money during their canning competition at 10 a.m. before the football game in Kansas City.

"Last year we raised a lot of money," sophomore Lauren Fout, Public relations chairmen said. "Everyone is so positive and wants to help out as much as they possibly can."

Up Til Dawn hosts two big events a year, the Colden Pond Plunge and the Letter Writing Campaign. The Colden Pond Plunge will take place in February, but the Letter Writing Campaign will take place Nov. 9.

"Last year over 650 students participated," DeMarr said. "We ask each person to bring 50 addresses and Up Til Dawn provides the letters and stamps, there's free food, games and prizes to win from local businesses."

Northwest was able to raise $35,000 for St. Jude's last year and has plans to raise even more this year.

"Seeing how passionate everyone is and the length that people go to donate to such a good cause is an amazing experience," Fout said.

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