'Love Your Melon' helps kids with cancer

Shari Lau

When UW-Eau Claire students in a small group communication course were challenged to find and address a social issue in the local community, one group decided to make it personal and partner with the UW-Eau Claire chapter of Love Your Melon, an organization founded and run by college students with a mission to improve the lives of children battling cancer.

“We needed to pick some type of issue and make an impact at the local level,” said UWEC student Madeline Gray. “Many of the students in the group, myself included, have been personally affected by childhood cancer. Jack Delahunt and myself both lost a classmate to cancer in high school and know firsthand the pain and shock that accompany the death of a peer. We wanted to do something to both solve the problem of childhood cancer and to help the kids currently battling cancer. We are trying to generate commitment to our issue and create a greater level of awareness for the organization and its mission on campus.” In December, members of the class co-hosted a fundraising jazz night for Love Your Melon at The Cabin in UW-Eau Claire’s Davies Center.

To find out more about the project, we asked Gray a few questions.

Why did your group choose to partner with Love Your Melon?

Love Your Melon is a fantastic organization that directly benefits children with cancer. For every hat they sell, a pediatric cancer patient receives a hat, and 50 percent of the profits go toward the Pinky Swear Foundation and CureSearch. It is also an organization that was founded, and is still run by, college students, and we wanted to support them. As a group, we felt that Love Your Melon provided us with an opportunity to get directly involved and actually make a difference in children’s lives.

What have you learned from working on this project?

I have learned a lot of different things so far by working on this project. As an English major, advertising and marketing are not areas that I have a lot of experience with. It has been both fun and challenging to learn to navigate those fields, and I would not have been as successful at it without the help of my groupmates. One of the things that constantly surprises me is how much everyone knows about different things, and how willing everyone is to take the time to help each other out.

How does it feel to know your work has real-world impact on for those with childhood cancer?

I think the knowledge that our project has the ability to change lives is what really keeps us focused. We are all busy students and semester-long projects can be hard to keep in the forefront all the time, but because we all believe in our cause, our group is extremely dedicated. Every child deserves a childhood. Knowing that 35 kids can relax and smile for a few minutes when a superhero gives them a hat, and that the hundreds of dollars we donate to a research foundation could be the dollars that fund a breakthrough is powerful knowledge. As I mentioned earlier, many of us have faced the brutal reality of cancer in our own lives, and we just want to make a difference.

To learn more about the UW-Eau Claire campus chapter of Love Your Melon, visit tinyurl.com/guxuq2t.