The organization works to bring joy and love to children with cancer
Most people remember their childhood as time of playing outside in the sun and simply being happier.
But for a child with cancer, the experience can be drastically different.
Temple’s Love Your Melon (LYM) crew works to make that experience a little brighter. It sells beanies and other apparel, and a portion of its sales goes toward children battling cancer.
The organization is affiliated with the The Love Your Melon Fund, which is comprised of over 800 campus crews all over America and Canada.
In addition to selling apparel, Temple’s chapter of LYM organizes activities to engage with young patients directly. A few times during the semester, team members visit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where they play games with patients and hand out beanies.
“We want to be able to provide any sort of happiness for these kids, especially when they’re battling something that’s bigger than they are,” Crew Captain Anna Brignola said.
LYM also plans “superhero adventures.” The team members usually find social media posts about children who have cancer, contact them, and after learning about each child’s interests, they orchestrate a personalized outing or an event.
Past adventures have included trips to public parks; Rebounderz, an indoor trampoline arena; and Dave & Buster’s, a family-friendly restaurant and arcade.
However, LYM’s biggest adventure was for a young “superhero” named Nicky, 7, who they surprised with a meet and greet with almost every player on the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster.
“Nicky was just completely blown away,” Brignola said. “Not many [LYM] groups get to make that happen.”
The team also sets up fun tables with games and giveaways in the Student Activities Center in order to spread the mission to as many people as possible.
As the volunteer crew manager, Morris wants students to know how easy it is to become involved with LYM.
“You can do anything from visiting a table to joining the crew to eventually holding a leadership position, which is achievable for anybody,” Morris said. “We love having new people join us to help spread the word about our mission.”
Olivia Morin, the LYM secretary and a junior health professions major, said that her favorite part of the club is spending time with the children’s families.
“It extends the reach,” said Morin. “And while it’s nice to see the kids and their families feel happier, it’s amazing for us to see them smile and laugh. It puts things into perspective.”
Abby Morris, the volunteer crew manager and a junior media studies & production major, said she enjoys LYM because she is able to give back and spend time with children.
“You get to make a lot of friends within the club and do fun things, but the underlying message is really for the kids,” Morris said. “When you’re actually physically there with them, you get to see what you’re working towards. It’s a really humbling experience.”
Written by: Haniya Shariff
Photography by: Olivia O’Neill