By Andrea Buno
On Aug. 31, 2015, former President Barack Obama declared September as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Childhood Cancer is the number one cause of death by disease for children in the U.S. Less than 4 percent of funding from the National Cancer Institute goes to childhood cancer. In addition, this funding is shared among hundreds of types of childhood cancer.
Childhood Cancer programs are vastly underfunded, and many foundations are created all over the country to fill the need where there is a gap. Love Your Melon, an example of one of these groups, was founded in 2012, when two college friends from Minnesota developed the idea for a class assignment. The brand grew and has since found its way onto many college campuses across the U.S., including KU.
Kyla Whitman, crew captain of LYM, registered the club officially with the university in 2015. Childhood Cancer directly impacted Whitman’s life when her sister was diagnosed with Leukemia in 4th grade.
The crew will be going gold on Friday, Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside of the McFarland Student Union Building. They have reserved a promotion table where they plan to give out hand-made gold ribbons in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. They will also be promoting their line of products in order to raise funds for pediatric cancer.
According to the LYM website, http://www.loveyourmelon.com, 50 percent of all profits go to a number of different Pediatric Cancer Organizathat support the cause. Some of the foundations include Make-A-Wish Foundation, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, Be The Match, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Cure Search and Ronald McDonald Foundation. LYM has given an estimated amount of $2,678,259.00 to these local charities.
The mission of LYM is to provide every child battling cancer with a hat. The LYM crew at KU hosts family outings to local children impacted by the disease. Since opening in 2015, they have hosted four local families. Families have gone on day trips to local venues at no cost with LYM. Select event locations have even provided free entrance and meals to the LYM crew and host family. The crew also volunteers with other local pediatric cancer originations such as the 5K with Cure Search Superheroes Unite.
KU’s LYM club is currently comprised of 20 KU students. According to Whitman, they will be adding 10 new students into the club this year.
For more information on how to join or to refer a family, you can reach the club at http://www.facebook.com/lymkutztown/.