Up ’til Dawn president finds passion, future in philanthropy work
A lot can happen in just four years.
Senior Brooke Kistler went from having no knowledge of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Up ‘til Dawn philanthropy event to finding a possible future in children’s research hospitals.
“I didn’t know what a philanthropist was before I came here, and now I am proud to say I am one,” she said.
Kistler, president of Delta Delta Delta, had never heard of the event, which is held annually in November from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. to raise money for St. Jude.
After joining the sorority, Kistler’s passion for St. Jude grew each year. Now as president of the committee, Kistler has become the driving force behind the college’s Up ‘til Dawn event.
Even though the event is Tri Delta’s philanthropy, Kistler initially discovered Up ‘til Dawn through a St. Jude patient.
“She’s like, ‘Oh, I’m on my way to an Up ‘til Dawn meeting,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, what’s that?’ Kistler said. “And I got a phone interview the next day with the St. Jude representative, and I got involved with that, too.”
Kistler has visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital twice, and she said the overall experience is always amazing but also surprising because of the reactions she receives from people.
“It’s crazy saying I loved going to a hospital,” Kistler said. “I wore my Tri Delta letters and people were acting like we were rock stars. It was weird. They were like, ‘Thank you for everything you do. You guys were so awesome.’ I’m like, ‘You guys are the rock stars.’”
Kistler has always wanted to be a teacher, but her visit to the hospital during her sophomore year solidified her desire and even sparked an interest in her to work at children’s hospitals.
Her future plans aren’t concrete. Kistler said her dream job would be working at Riley Children’s Hospital at its school in Indianapolis, but she is also considering fundraising for St. Jude instead of teaching.
She does know her future will involve philanthropic work.
The organization’s goal is to raise $15,000 at the Nov. 17 event. Kistler said her personal goal for the organization is to increase awareness about the hospital.
“I just want people to know they don’t charge the patients or families for anything,” Kistler said. “It’s completely free medical care. That’s just a big thing. It’s a big goal of mine.”
She also wants people to know that Up ’til Dawn, a collegiate event, raises money for St. Jude research that goes out to hospitals everywhere, including nearby Riley Children’s Hospital.
“That research part is really the key thing, because they research all kinds of stuff and they send it out for free,” she said. “So kids at Riley get saved on St. Jude protocols.”
This non-profit aspect of St. Jude is what made Kistler fall in love with the philanthropy, molding her into the philanthropist she is today.
“I’ve always wanted to give back to people, but it’s given me a cause that I absolutely love,” she said.
Up ‘til Dawn specifically has taught Kistler that anything is possible, no matter the size.
“I think it just means to me that a little town like Franklin can raise thousands of dollars for kids with cancer, and we have fun while doing it,” Kistler said. “That just holds a special place in my heart. I’ll always donate to people I know who do Up ‘til Dawn here because it’s just so special.”
After discovering her passion, Kistler wants others to know that being passionate about something should be the reason to pursue anything.
“The biggest thing is you just need to believe in whatever it is. So if you believe in it, then you’ll be able to spread that passion. If your heart’s not in it, then you need to find something else, or you won’t ever
This story has been updated for clarification purposes.