The Love Your Melon (LYM) Campus Crew started at Kean University three years ago with the help of Nicolette Perone, who is now an alumna. She was passionate about the LYM company and thought that the Kean community would be as well. This Kean chapter helps promote the LYM apparel brand and inform people about LYM's company mission of donating a hat to every child in America that has cancer and also donating to cancer research to fight pediatric cancer.
LYM prides itself on improving the lives of children battling cancer in America. Since they started in 2012, LYM has donated 147,386 beanies to children battling cancer and have raised a total of $4,758,816.
The company began at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota by two students who wanted to start a business but also wanted to positively impact people. They began with the mission to give a hat to every child battling cancer in America. This explains why their brand started with hats. Today they have expanded their range of goods to headbands, scarves, caps, shirts, and more. Additionally, 50 percent of the profit from LYM products is given to the Love Your Melon Fund.
Many people facing cancer often need bone marrow transplants. As a result, LYM has partnered up with Be The Match, a bone marrow donor registry, along with other organizations. They want to help spread awareness to the fact that anyone has the ability to impact someone’s life by donating their bone marrow.
President Victoria Volpe of the LYM Campus Crew said, “College kids are often uninformed about these types of things and it helps to bring such an organization to our campus for better access for the students.”
Volpe decided to join the LYM Campus Crew because she had family members that were also impacted by cancer, and the organization really spoke to her.
“I just wanted to give back to these children and do something they’ll remember down the road.”
Her favorite aspect of being apart of LYM is the hospital visits. For example, she and another member went to Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, NJ Tuesday, Sept. 18. For this trip, they teamed up with the New York Red Bulls. They visited several cancer patients in the pediatric intensive care oncology unit and delivered them goodies such as beanies, bracelets and stickers.
Volpe said, “It was amazing to be able to talk to the kids, take pictures with them and put a smile on all of their faces. It is truly rewarding to be a part of this crew!”
On April 2018, members of LYM also visited Newark Beth Israel Medical Center for National Superhero Day. The members were dressed head to toe in superhero apparel and came with presents for the children in the pediatric oncology unit. They handed out hats to all of the patients and made their days a little brighter. The importance of holding this event on National Superhero Day is to inspire the kids that they can do whatever they set their mind to, and to remind them that even though they are suffering right now, they are still incredibly strong.
Ashley Bongiorno, a member of the LYM Campus Crew, said, "Love Your Melon means to me creating the change for a child by giving them nothing but endless support, because kids can't fight cancer alone. I hope kids will understand that they're never alone and that there's so much support out there to keep on fighting because they're heroes to everyone they may not even know."
LYM is always looking for more members to join their team. Additionally, they do not have any events set in stone, but they are planning some in the near future such as the Love Your Melon Fashion Show and a watermelon smash event for this semester. Visit Cougar Link for more information on upcoming events and joining their team.