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By Rocío Hernández

Three years ago, senior Cori Guidi suffered a great loss. Her grandmother, Anita, whom Guidi considered to be her biggest role model and support, passed away due to cancer.

“When my grandma was on her deathbed, she looked at me and she said, ‘I know you and I know you are going to do something to help this cause and help people in my situation,’” Guidi said.

In less than a month, Guidi will be able to fulfill that promise. Months after her grandmother’s passing, Guidi was approached by her friend Morgan Ogden, who shares a similar passion for helping people whose lives have been touched by cancer. Odgen wanted to bring St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Up ‘til Dawn, a philanthropy event that raises money for the hospital, to the University of Nevada, Reno and Odgen needed help to reach that goal.

Since then, the Up ‘til Dawn executive board has grown from two students to 11 students, all dedicated to raising money for St. Jude patients and their families. Their inaugural event is scheduled for Saturday, March 28 at 11:30 p.m. to Sunday, March 29 at 6 a.m.

The event will include singers, activities such as scavenger hunts and performances from the Multicultural Greek Council.

Guidi, Up ‘til Dawn’s director of events and logistics, said that participants will be staying up all night in solidarity with children who are undergoing cancer treatment. According to Guidi, while patients are getting treated, they experience pain and as result, find it hard to sleep.

“We are ‘Staying Up for Good’ in order to show that we can give up a Saturday night in order to help the fight in childhood cancer,” Guidi said.

To participate in the event, students must form teams of six and register their team at St. Jude’s website. Each participant is expected to raise a minimum of $100. There are currently 215 participants and 56 teams that have  raised $4,968. Up ‘til Dawn organizers hope to reach $50,000 by March 28th.

The executive board has created challenges to get its participants motivated about fundraising. It has given away ski passes and raffle tickets to students who have shared their posts and raised a minimum of $50. There will also be many giveaways at the event itself such as a three to four night stay at South Lake Tahoe and gift cards to Buffalo Wild Wings and Starbucks.

Along with the teams, Up ‘til Dawn has four sponsors who have committed themselves to fundraise and help the organizers reach their overall goal. Fraternity Alpha Tau Omega, one of the sponsors, has pledged to raise $2,500. ATO Philanthropy Chairman Connor Mathews said that the fraternity is an experienced fundraiser.

Last year, the fraternity raised $10,000 for St. Baldricks Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research. According to Mathews, ATO raised $160 within two days of setting its Up ‘til Dawn donation webpage. ATO will also reach out to local businesses to reach its goal.

“Children’s cancer is one of the worst things a child and a family could ever go through and it’s nice to know we’re making a difference for children and their families,” Mathews said.

Mathews encourages students who haven’t joined Up ‘til Dawn to do so.

“It’s really easy to get six people together and raise $100 each,” Mathews said. “St. Jude’s website provides you with all the tools you need to raise money and it’s really for a great cause.”

Up ‘til Dawn Director of Recruitment Caden Fabbi said that the event will celebrate participants’ work and the bonds and friendships they formed as a team. It will allow students come together and get close over a “touching issue.”

Rocío Hernández can be reached at rhernandez@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter at @rociohdz19.