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Spotlight Organization: Love Your Melon

By: Kayla Larsen

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Each year, over 15,000 children are diagnosed with cancer, and about 1,800 of those children do not survive. Two college students from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota thought up an idea that can’t prevent cancer from happening, but can help the thousands of children who are suffering from cancer across the nation.

Two friends, Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller, were in an entrepreneurship class together when they had the idea to put a hat on every child in America battling cancer. They called this idea Love Your Melon and it was founded on October 22nd, 2012.

“We founded the organization while we were sophomores in college. We wanted to help those in need and everything else came together,” said Quinn on the homepage of the Love Your Melon website.

Love Your Melon started out with a program called buy one, give one, where consumers will buy a hat online, and another is sent to a hospital where a child is battling cancer. “The hats that we made were popular enough to sell out the first weekend [they were available],” said Quinn.

Love Your Melon has recruited ambassadors, who are college students who are responsible for spreading the word about Love Your Melon to their own home towns and to sell and donate hats.

“My resident advisor asked me to get involved. She explained the purpose of the organization and I was instantly sold,” said Jacob Drohman, a freshman at University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.

According to the Love Your Melon website, there are more than 9,000 college students involved at over 575 schools nationally. “My favorite part about being involved with Love Your Melon is when we get to hand out hats to the kids,” said Drohman

“On December 18th, 2012, we got to go to our first hospital donation event and it was then that we knew how cool this idea was. Seeing the smiles on the kids faces that day was incredible so we kept making the hats,” said Quinn.

Hats are donated by ambassadors to hospitals, dressed like superheroes. “It (made) those experiences really incredible for the children,” said Christine Tomlinson, a spokeswoman for Love Your Melon.

“Seeing the smiles on [the kid’s] face tells me that it’s worth doing,” said Drohman.

Love Your Melon has partnerships with organizations such as CureSearch and The Pinky Swear Foundation to fund research, with the hopes of beating childhood cancer completely.

After donating about 45,000 hats and partnering with other organizations, Love Your Melon has launched a new program to replace its buy one, give one program. Now, 50% of net proceeds from the purchase of hats will be donated to the two programs.

In 2014, Love Your Melon went on two nationwide tours in hopes to spread their mission across America and deliver hats to children in hospitals. In an interview with USA Today College, Quinn said “Anyone can improve the lives of others, they just need to be shown how.”

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Spotlight Organization: Love Your Melon