‘Love Your Melon’ (LYM) is an apparel brand that 20 Wake Forest students have joined as campus crew members who are dedicated to fighting against pediatric cancer.
This nation-wide organization that currently has 12,600 members across all 50 states, is committed to giving a hat to every child battling cancer in the U.S. LYM’s mission also includes partnering with nonprofit organizations that focus on fighting against pediatric cancer. Fifty percent of LYM profits are given to their nonprofit partners who are also dedicated to this cause.
On Oct. 22, 2012, Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller brainstormed this idea in an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. There are now 761 campus crews across the nation that help promote the mission of LYM by marketing their products to campus and community members while also raising awareness of pediatric cancer.
“I was looking to join more clubs,” said sophomore Margot Frank “especially ones that have social enterprise or charitable aspects. It is a low-commitment, fun group of people and I love knowing what exactly I am supporting.”
Maddy Boyd created the Wake Forest campus crew almost two years ago, according to Katie Hedden, the current captain of LYM at Wake Forest. The Wake Forest campus crew now includes 20 members and has broadned its reach.
“With a mission of putting a hat on every child battling cancer in America,” Hedden said, “Both Maddy and I were drawn to this determination to help improve these kids’ or superheroes’ (as we call them) lives.”
This past fall, the Wake Forest campus crew held their first donation event and sent four executive crew members to visit the pediatric oncology floor of Brenner Children’s Hospital. They donated 50 beanies to both inpatient and outpatient kids going through treatment and their families.
“It was such an amazing and fulfilling experience as we got to see how tough these kids — of all ages — really are,” Hedden said. “Most of them had smiles and personalities that lit up the room.”
This semester, the crew is creating a ‘Superhero Adventure’ for a child in the area battling cancer. This event will provide them with a day full of fun by letting them participate in their favorite activities, like rollerblading and eating pizza. They are also planning a promotional event outside the Pit in April.
“Being the captain and member of this crew has been an incredible experience,” Hedden said. “I love sharing it with new people every day.”
Wake Forest campus crew public relations director, Katie Dickens, believes LYM is important to Wake Forest because the fight against cancer is something so near and dear to the heart of the Wake Forest community.
The “Love Your Melon’s presence on campus is another way we can show our support for those who have been touched by the disease,” Dickens said.
As an organization, LYM has surpassed its initial goals of donating 45,000 hats and $1 million to nonprofit partners. They have now helped donate over $2.5 million and over 90,000 hats.
“It started out just as a school project for those two students,” Frank said. “Now it’s a known brand that I see people wearing all the time.”
Frank hopes other organizations on campus, including Greek life organizations, will soon get involved with LYM to spread awareness of pediatric cancer.
“Our main goal this year has been to have a lot more brand awareness on campus and we’ve seen that take off,” Dickens said. “I’m hoping for more involvement and most importantly, support through sales.”