Fundraiser to aid children’s hospital

Mardi Gras is usually remembered for beads, king cake and partying, but this year it may also be remembered for raising money for sick children.

Each semester, students participate in a campaign that has been raising money for more than six years for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

During the five-hour Up ‘Til Dawn letter-writing event Tuesday held in the Brown-Lupton Student Center, students worked to top the $36,000 raised last year, said Sarah Durkee, executive director of Up ‘Til Dawn.

Durkee said it is typical for most students to write 10 to 20 letters each, while averaging a $25 to $50 return on each letter.

She said after raising $20,000 during last semester’s letter-writing event, the goal of raising $40,000 for the year is within reach.

Leah Carnahan, faculty adviser of Up ‘Til Dawn, said it costs $1 million a day to keep the hospital running, and TCU is one of the largest contributors among colleges across the country.

“Student fundraisers mean so much to the parents,” said Teresa Rommel, a coordinator support specialist for St. Jude’s in Tennessee. “If the parents could talk to the students directly, I know they would want to thank them for giving their child another day of life.”

The idea behind the hospital is that no family is ever turned away, and TCU has become an important factor in helping the hospital stay open and remain successful, Durkee said.

Although 97 percent of the money contributed by TCU comes from letter-writing, the remaining amount will come from Valentine card sales beginning Sunday and a croquet event April 12, Durkee said.

The event finale party, which rewards students who participated in the letter-writing campaign, will be replaced by a croquet event, which will be held on the lawn by Worth Hills.

Blair Tacket, croquet event coordinator, said the finale is expected to be “an afternoon of fun.”

Durkee said the number of people attending the finale has been low, and a switch to an all-day croquet event will bring more people together.

“Croquet will be a great time to get together with friends and support a great cause,” said Melissa Moody, a sophomore e-business and supply chain management major who participated in the letter writing campaign. “I think it will help boost TCU’s involvement with St. Jude’s.”