Wake ’N Shake Helps Piccolo Fund Top $5 Million

Wake ‘N Shake, the annual 12-hour dance marathon at Wake Forest University that raises money for the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fund, was back as an in-person event in March 2022 for the first time in 3 years and raised more than $300,000.

Three young women holding a large check.

The event is one of several student-driven fundraising events that support the Piccolo Fund each year. Those collective student efforts have now raised more than $5 million since they began in 1980. Proceeds support cancer research and treatment at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Recent Piccolo Fund donations have helped support:

  • The clinical trial phase of a new drug for pancreatic cancer, with early results showing an increase in survivorship by months, possibly years.
  • An Hispanic patient navigator position, which is helping to improve patient access to care and increase clinical trial participation.
  • The purchase of nanoparticle generation and detection equipment.

Wake ‘N Shake features upwards of 1,400 students who stay on their feet from noon to midnight to raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer. Dancers participate in a variety of fun activities, competitions and a group line dance, and enjoy entertainment by musicians, dance groups and other student and community organizations.

Students established the Piccolo Fund in memory of Brian Piccolo, the former Demon Deacon and NFL football star whose life was cut short due to cancer.