April 17, 2015
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JORDAN BUCHER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Outside of practice and the classroom, members of the University of Iowa track and field team are on a mission to give back to the UI Children’s Hospital.
The Love Your Melon Foundation is a charitable organization that benefits cancer research initiatives and provides immediate support for pediatric cancer patients and their families through its buy one, give one program. For every Love Your Melon hat purchased, an identical one is also given to a child battling cancer.
Thanks to University of Iowa sophomore Tess Wilberding, the organization is on the rise at Iowa. A native of Troy, Michigan, Wilberding was introduced to Love Your Melon by a friend who was involved with the program at Michigan State.
“I was impressed by the cause and what they do, so I knew I wanted to do something with it,” Wilberding said. “I contacted the founders of Love Your Melon and they told me I could create a crew at Iowa.”
“We were able to recruit a wide variety of students to become a part of our team,” Martin said. “They have helped us establish Love Your Melon on our campus faster than we ever would have guessed.”
In its first three weeks, the organization has sold 144 hats and raised approximately $4,000 toward benefiting childhood cancer.
“I saw it as an opportunity to use an athletic platform and social media connections to reach out and promote a good cause,” Ellis said. “I also fell in love with the hats and their mission, and it’s rewarding to know that your efforts were the basis of another person’s contribution.”
“My favorite part of Love Your Melon is being able to walk around campus and see the growing number of people who are wearing the products. Iowa is a great campus to promote this cause, and I have a lot of hope for growth with Love Your Melon in Iowa City.”
UI junior Courtney Martin
Their efforts have certainly paid off, and Martin is noticing.
“My favorite part of Love Your Melon is being able to walk around campus and see the growing number of people who are wearing the products,” Martin said. “Iowa is a great campus to promote this cause, and I have a lot of hope for growth with Love Your Melon in Iowa City.”
In addition to the Children’s Hospital, the University of Iowa enjoys close ties to the Ronald McDonald House and is also home to one of the largest Dance Marathon organization in the nation, which provides financial and emotional support for pediatric cancer patients and their families.
The immediate success of Love Your Melon at Iowa has expanded the national organization’s goal to raising over $1,000,000 for cancer research by the end of 2015.
“I didn’t expect it to grow so quickly and I’m happy and humbled to be a part of it,” Wilberding said. “I am even more excited about our new mission statement because it made the cause that much stronger. I am excited to see what this organization can do.”
To help support the cause and provide a pediatric cancer patient with a new hat, visit loveyourmelon.com and select Iowa campus crew in the checkout section.