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ND/SMC students promote ‘Love your Melon’

and | Sunday, March 29, 2015

Notre Dame students visit Memorial Hospital in South Bend to give hats to children battling cancer and their families on March 18.Photo courtesy of Riley Chelsky

Notre Dame students visit Memorial Hospital in South Bend to give hats to children battling cancer and their families on March 18.

Since its inception in 2012, the Love Your Melon Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping children with cancer, has built a network of over 900 ambassadors nationwide.

The ambassadors, dubbed “Campus Crews” by the Foundation, help to advance the mission of Love Your Melon (LYM) to put a hat on every child battling cancer. The Foundation produces high-quality winter hats, beanies and baseball caps, and for every hat sold by ambassadors, another identical one is given to a child with cancer.

Notre Dame has its own Campus Crew led by Crew Captain freshman Riley Chelsky. Chelsky said he introduced the program to Notre Dame this year.

“One of my friends was part of Love Your Melon at Marquette, and so I decided to bring it here,” Chelsky said.

Junior Leah Ramaekers said she started a Love Your Melon campus crew at Saint Mary’s this semester.

“LYM campus crews do a lot of promotion with social media,” Ramaekers said.

Ramaekers said if the Saint Mary’s LYM campus crew reaches 120 credits — 120 hat purchases credited to SMC online — the campus crew will host a donation event at the local hospital and hand out 120 hats to local patients.

With the help of sophomore Paige Russell, Chelsky said he recruited 18 members to join the Notre Dame chapter.

On March 19, the Notre Dame group visited South Bend Memorial Hospital and gave away hats to children and their families undergoing treatment for cancer.

“We had 150 hats to donate,” Chelsky said. “It was a great donation event, and just seeing the smile on kids’ faces really made a difference.”

Chelsky said he lost his own father to cancer and understands the strain of hospital life.

“My dad really hated being in the hospital, so I can only imagine how much little kids hate being in the hospital,” he said.

Typically customers support Campus Crews by purchasing Love Your Melon products online and selecting to support the Notre Dame or Saint Mary’s chapter at checkout. Customers will have the opportunity to purchase products on Notre Dame’s campus on April 8 at the Bald and the Beautiful graduate student event at Legends from 5 to 8 p.m.

Ramaekers said students should buy a hat to benefit kids in local hospitals battling cancer.

“I think it’s important for students to be involved with a campus crew to promote the ‘Buy One. Give One’ philosophy,” she said. “We have seen similar companies like TOMS promote this, which is great. I think the more we can promote and create awareness for ‘purchases with a purpose,’ the better community we can create.”

Chelsky said the Notre Dame ambassadors are also helping with the women’s softball Strike Out Cancer event in April.

“We are just trying to continuously grow and spread the word about Love Your Melon,” Chelsky said.

Similarly, Ramaekers said she is hoping to develop the club over the next year and gain awareness on campus.

Further information about the Notre Dame Campus Crew and its events are available on Instagram (@ndlymcrew), Facebook (University of Notre Dame Love Your Melon Campus Crew) and Twitter (@ndlymcrew).

For interest in the Saint Mary’s Campus Crew, email lramae01@saintmarys.edu

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About Haleigh Ehmsen

A senior at Saint Mary's, Haleigh is majoring in Communication Studies and English Literature & Writing. She serves as the Saint Mary's editor and enjoys coffee, guacamole and good books.

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About Jennifer Flanagan

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