More than 40,000 children undergo cancer treatment every year, and at Sonoma State University Love Your Melon club is doing everything within its power to brighten the lives of these kids. They have an admirable mission: to give a hat to every child battling cancer in America.
Love Your Melon is comprised of a national network of clubs based at different college campuses. These clubs are called Campus Crews. When junior, Casey Elbert, saw that Sonoma State did not have a Love Your Melon club, she decided to start one.
“Cancer causes have always been really important to me,” said Elbert, president of the Love Your Melon club.
The Love Your Melon club at Sonoma State encourages people to buy Love Your Melon apparel. After raising a certain amount of money, they get the chance to visit a child with cancer. The opportunity to make a kid’s day special is welcomed by the club’s members.
“We get to visit a child in our area who is battling cancer, or visit a hospital and give out Love Your Melon beanies,” Elbert said.
For members of the Love Your Melon Club, the most rewarding part is visiting with the kids. “Last April we visited a girl who lives here in Rohnert Park. Her name is Aniston and she’s in second grade,” Elbert said. Aniston was undergoing chemotherapy at the time of their visit.
“We had a scavenger hunt with her and her friends, it was so fun,” said Elbert.
At the end of the scavenger hunt, Aniston was greeted by Lobo, the mascot of Sonoma State.
“The purpose is to brighten a child’s life that is going through something that none of us should have to go through,” Elbert said. The visits are all about making the kid feel special.
Love Your Melon sells apparel to raise money for cancer research, and they make hats for kids who have had cancer to wear.
Sophomore Glen Kueffner has been the public relations representative for Love Your Melon since its formation in December. Having had cancer four times, he knows what these kids are going through maybe better than anyone.
“I have experienced childhood cancer, so I wanted to give back to that community in any way I could,” Kueffner said. “I feel gratified. I feel like I am making a difference. For every hat that we sell it affects someone’s life somewhere, so that pay it forward aspect is pretty cool.”
Half of all the money raised by Love Your Melon is given to their partners, Cure Search and the Pinky Swear Foundation. Cure Search’s mission is to find a cure for childhood cancer. The Pinky Swear Foundation helps families through financial and emotional distress. All three companies are focused on the singular goal of helpings kids with cancer.
The other half of the money is used to produce more apparel.
A typical Love Your Melon Club session might involve discussion of marketing strategies and fundraising opportunities. This is not what the core of the club is however. Most of the time is spent planning house visits around the idea of putting a smile on the kid’s face.
“That’s really what the center of the organization is, everything else is minor,” Elbert said.
The capacity for the Love Your Melon Club is twenty. Since 5 people graduated last year, there are a few openings which are in high demand with a waitlist of seventy people.
The Love Your Melon Club is bringing good karma to Sonoma State. Anyone can help the cause by buying apparel from loveyourmelon.com and selecting Sonoma State as the Campus Crew they are supporting.