by Patrick Fuller ’21
In the United States, over 15,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, and it is one of the worst diseases a child can face. According to the National Cancer Insititute, the number of new cases each year is 454.8 per 100,000 men and women based on cases from 2008-2012. Meanwhile, the cancer mortality rate is 171.2 per 100,000 men and women per year.
When looking at such an overwhelming, destructive medical phenomenon, the global community is eager to help the victims and families battling childhood cancer. In 2012, Brian Keller and Zachary Quinn, began the mission at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota to “put a hat on every child battling cancer in America,” founding one of Americas top pediatric cancer foundations, Love Your Melon.
According to the business’s website, the original goal of 45,000 hats was reached very quickly, providing every single child battling cancer in America with a warm knitted hat. Next, the group decided to set a new goal of giving $1 million pecifically for immediate support to children and their families.
A unique part of the Love Your Melon brand is the Campus Crew Program. In communities across the country, groups strive to raise awareness of childhood cancer and represent the name through coordinating, planning, and running beanie donation events all year long. Similarly, the Love Your Melon Campus Crew members are able to take children and their family members on helicopter rides and other outings pertaining to the child’s favorite activities and interests. Apparently, these therapeutic excursions have been proven to increase treatment success. Overall, the Campus Crew Program has grown to include over 13,500 crew members nationwide at 840 different institutions.
In fact, Love Your Melon operates a Campus Crew at Providence College. The President of the Love Your Melon Campus Crew, Mary Kate Morrissey ’18, reported that the group now has 26 members and over 100 volunteers. According to Morrisey, “Our job as a crew is to spread awareness about Love Your Melon and pediatric cancer research on social media and through events on campus.”
Such events this year have included the “Be the Match Swab Drive,” which provided students with an opportunity to add themselves to the bone marrow registry. Furthermore, the team visited Hasbro Children’s Hospital on Oct. 18 to deliver hats and spend the day with children suffering from cancer. While the group does not sell products on campus, it regularly conducts raffles at promotional events to give hats away.
As promised by the fundraiser’s website, 50 percent of profit from the sale of all Love Your Melon products is given to Love Your Melon’s nonprofit partners who work in the fields of pediatric oncology, fund cancer research initiatives and provide immediate support for families of children battling cancer. Some of the major associates listed on the brand’s website include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Make A Wish Foundation, and CureSearch. To date, the company has given over $2.8 million and over 120,000 hats to those in need.
Most recently The Love Your Melon Crew at Providence College hosted an event on Dec. 4 in Slavin Center where students could decorate cards for children battling cancer. With the cold, New England winter bearing down on the community, nothing can be more fitting than covering up with a hat from Love Your Melon. In doing so, warmth can also come to those children fighting against cancer.