Today: May 22, 2024

SCSU ‘writes for a cure’ for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Sean Meenaghan -- Photo Editor
Kayla Vozzella, freshman signs her name on St Jude letters.

 REBECCA BAINERGeneral Assignment Reporter

Wishing to come up with a fundraiser unique to Southern, students decided to sponsor “Write for the Cure,” an event to raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, said Rick Dematties, chairperson of the event.

This year’s event was held on Nov. 16, and Dematties said the premise was for students to write letters to friends and family asking them to donate.

“We created our own event,” said Dematties, “I think it reaches out to more people than just Southern students.”

The letters were already typed, but students fill in who they are sending it to and personally sign their name. Dematties said each letter is sent out with a business reply form on which those who wish to donate indicate their form of payment, which then gets sent to Memphis, Tenn. where the hospital is located.

“We encourage them to write 20 letters each, and if they write at least 20 letters each,” said Dematties, “we have an event where we bring a hypnotist, magician and it’s basically a reward for people that write letters.”

According to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital website, the mission of the hospital is to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases, and no child is refused treatment because of race, religion or a family’s inability to pay.

Erica Gammon, a senior biology major, said she planned to write 35 letters because she wanted to support the cause.

Antoinette Vadillo and Lisa Joseph.
Antoinette Vadillo and Lisa Joseph sign St Jude letters

“I think if it shows up at your doorstep you’ll be more willing to help,” said Gammon, “than if you just see maybe a commercial on TV or if you just see ads somewhere.”

Gammon said it is easy for recipients to donate, which is one reason she feels the event has been so successful in the past.

“All you have to do is donate and put it right back in the envelope,” said Gammon, “and send it away and there you go there’s the donation.”

The event took place in the ballroom of the Adanti Student Center from 6-11 p.m. with music blasting and karaoke starting at 10 p.m. for all the late-nighters.

“We do this for the kids and we really enjoy it; it’s not a task for us,” said Dematties. “We have fun doing it, and all the Southern students love it. They always ask us right after the event end, when is it going to be next year?”

Ashley Ishman, a junior public health major, is one of those students who looks forward to the event and said she has attended the fundraiser for three years.

“They put on great entertainment,” said Ishman.

As a public health major she has hopes of one day working for St. Jude’s herself. “I support any cancer research,” said Ishman, “especially with children because I want to work with them one day.”

Last year the event raised $6,000 and $25,000 the year before that, according to Dematties. This year, Dematties said he hopes to raise $30,000 because he feels it’s important to help the children.

“I’m big on charity,” said Dematties, “I love kids, I’ve worked with kids all my life with baseball, I’ve taught religious education, just basically I want to help out with the cause.”

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