UWO Love Your Melon crew supplies hats for cancer patients

Kellie Wambold

[media-credit name=”Photo courtesy of UWO Love Your Melon” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]LYMwithmascot[/media-credit]

UW Oshkosh has started a Love Your Melon Campus Crew, a national organization that works with families that have children diagnosed with cancer. Working through an online store, LYM sells hats and other apparel to raise money for the cancer organizations CureSearch and Pinky Swear Foundation. CureSearch funds research to help find a cure for cancer, while Pinky Swear Foundation provides immediate support for children battling cancer and their families by providing financial help and quality of life programs. UWO’s LYM crew recently started, and its crew captain, Trina Do, said the group’s goal as of now is to gain volunteers and campus attention. “Since our UWO LYM Campus Crew was just established this fall, myself and other crew members have been working especially hard to just get our name out there,” Do said. UWO’s LYM secretary, Chloe Williamson, said the UWO LYM Campus Crew has a specific goal of gaining credit as an organization. “The UWO LYM Campus Crew is a new club to campus so right now we are just working on spreading the word about LYM and trying to get our credits up,” Williamson said. UWO’s LYM gains credits when students purchase apparel from the LYM website and select UWO at checkout to credit the University. Williamson said as LYM grows, it will have more opportunities to reach out. “As the UWO LYM Campus Crew gains more credit, we are able to do more things as a club, such as home visits and hospital superhero visits, where we go to either a child’s home who has cancer or we visit children with cancer who are in the hospital and we donate a LYM hat to them and their family members,” Williamson said. “We also are trying to earn credits to receive some hats that we can sell on campus to UWO students.” Do said another goal is to have more house visits around the holidays. “We’re also planning on teaming up with Be The Match for a fundraising event to give holiday gifts to families of children fighting cancer around our community,” Do said. Do said there are more than 200 LYM crews across the country and the national mission is to provide hats to all children battling cancer. “LYM has reserved more than 45,000 hats to donate to these children, which is equal to the number of children currently undergoing cancer treatment in the U.S.,” Do said. Overall, though, Do said her goal with LYM is to help children smile. “Some of these kids don’t even know their ABC’s,” Do said. “They don’t even know how to write their name yet, but they’ve been through the journey of a lifetime and it’s so unfair. Myself and my fellow LYM crew members do what we can to get them to smile, to make their day and change their lives.” Do said UWO’s LYM recently visited a three year old diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and donated hats and other gifts to his family and she hopes the group has more opportunities like this. “These children are so brave and strong,” Do said. “We’ve got a lot to learn from them.” Katelyn Boldt, LYM’s vice captain, said the superhero visit has been one of the biggest rewards for the LYM crew. “Even though I haven’t been on a Superhero visit I still have immense gratification knowing that I have helped that process happen and that I have been able to put a hat and smile upon [the child’s] face,” Boldt said. Do said other LYM crews across the country have grown enough to host even bigger events for the children they help, such as help a 3-year-old girl fighting brain cancer meet her favorite singer, Kacey Musgraves. “This is just one among many of the wonderful stories about what LYM does,” Do said. Williamson said she became involved with LYM to be a part of these great stories. “I really wanted to be a part of this organization because I have seen people from other campuses attending events and spreading the word about LYM and I wanted to be a part of that awesome group of people,” Williamson said. Halle Aldrich, LYM’s public relations manager, said such donation events are good reminders for why the LYM Crew wants to grow. “When they receive a hat and an instant smile shows up on their face, it’s heartwarming and reminds me why I am doing what I do for LYM,” Aldrich said. To get involved with UWO’s LYM, students can contact the group through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.