By: Erika Kellerman
Pediatric cancer affects almost 11,000 children a year in the United States alone (cancer.org). Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are two life-saving treatments that give children a fighting chance against the disease. A side effect of both therapies includes hair thinning or loss.
According to cancerresearchuk.org, for most people, losing their hair is the most difficult part of cancer treatment. It reads on their website, “This is understandable, because our appearance is closely linked to our feelings of self-esteem. Trying to accept sudden changes in your looks can be very hard. It’s not unusual for people who have lost their hair to feel angry and depressed.”
In 2012, Brian Keller and Zachary Quinn of the University, students at St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, created a brand of beanies and caps that would help children with cancer. Their brand is called Love Your Melon (LYM).
When a person buys one of the U.S. made beanies, baseball caps, shirts, or jackets, 50% of the proceeds go to the Pinky Swear Foundation, as well as CureSearch. Both foundations help with the medical costs of cancer. With each hat sold, LYM also donates a beanie to a child with cancer. Parents, and loved ones of children with cancer can also request a LYM hat through Campus Ambassadors here at Carlow.
How did Love Your Melon find its way to Carlow University?
Chelsea Gasparich, a sophomore Nursing student at Carlow University, heard about Love Your Melon from her dance hero Lauren Froderman, winner of “So You Think You Can Dance” in 2010. She knew she had to do anything she could to be involved. “I love that Love Your Melon is dedicated to helping these kids out,” Gasparich said.
Gasparich recently started a Love Your Melon Campus Ambassador program at Carlow. “I want to be an Oncology Nurse one day,” Gasparich said. “I have worked with a lot of cancer patients at Children’s Hospital, so I know how much a beanie will light up the smiles of these little ones fighting.”
The Carlow crew is made up of 20 plus students interested in joining the fight against Pediatric Cancer. Ally Fleming, Carlow University LYM crew member, said, “I joined because I think it’s a great cause. It gives me the opportunity to put a smile on a child’s face that might not be there otherwise.
Each time a person buys a hat, credit goes toward Carlow’s LYM crew. Gasparich adds, “Once so many products are credited to our university, we [the Carlow LYM crew] will start getting opportunities to visit children fighting cancer in homes, long term care facilities, and hospitals.”
Students can follow Carlow’s Love Your Melon Campus Crew on Instagram and Twitter @carlowlymcrew and on Facebook at “Carlow University Love Your Melon Campus Crew.”
- Cuffed Beanies – $30.00
- Regular Beanies – $30.00
- Beanies with Poms – $40.00
- Grey or Navy Long Sleeve – $40.00
- White Aztec Long Sleeve – $50.00
- Charcoal Quarter Zip – $75.00
Special hats come out every month and are available in an array of colors and styles.