Love Your Melon

Giving hats to kids with cancer

Torch File Photo
Ferris alumna and former Love Your Melon RSO leader Caitlyn Peca models a hat that chapters of the group across the country donate to children battling cancer.

It all started with two college students, and now Love Your Melon (LYM) has impacted over 120,000 kids battling cancer.

With LYM campus crews across the country, Ferris has its own LYM Registered Student Organization (RSO) dedicated to raising money and awareness for pediatric cancer. Its president, Ferris hospitality management senior Karly Balogh, has already seen firsthand the impact of LYM’s programs.

“It sounds super dramatic, but it changed my life,” Balogh said of her LYM hospital visit. “We really weren’t sure what to expect when we went to Ann Arbor, because you know you’re going to visit a bunch of sick kids and you don’t know what kind of atmosphere it will be. But they still just wanted to be treated as kids.”

Balogh has personal reasons for her involvement with LYM; her grandfather died from colon cancer and her mom is a two-time survivor of breast cancer. Her own experience with family affected by cancer helped her relate to the kids, she explained.

“One thing my mom and I would always say when she was going through treatment was that you just have to take it one day at a time. Because one day could be a bad day and you have a good day the next day,” Balogh said. “[The kids] know when their friends aren’t feeling well…so they knew which one of their friends needed cheering up.”

Despite the circumstances, the children still kept their senses of humor, according to Balogh.

“The boy we went to visit—Spencer—liked to pull pranks on the nurses. He would put apple juice in the urine sample cups and then drink it in front of the nurses.” Balogh said.

LYM donates 50 percent of its profits to its nonprofit partners dedicated to fighting pediatric cancer which include Be The Match, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the Max Cure Foundation and many more. To this date, over $2.8 million and 123,706 hats have been given by LYM.

The campus crews earn credits for raising awareness by gaining social media followers and every credit amount they hit gets them a reward. The RSO’s next goal is to get 1000 credits to go on a hospital visit, according to Balogh.

“I like that everything we do is to build towards a goal,” Ferris accounting and finance freshman Kenzie Trierweiler said. “Right now, we are trying to build towards a hospital visit to visit a sick kid. I just like the idea of working together all for a common purpose.”

The Ferris LYM crew has organized a Be The Match swab drive event on Tuesday, Feb. 13th next year to help those fighting cancer by donating blood or finding matches to donate bone marrow. Students can follow the RSO on Twitter and Instagram at @fsulymcrew.