Liberty University’s Love Your Melon’s spring initiative to raise awareness of leukemia
Liberty University’s Love Your Melon crew, under new leadership, is looking forward to the “Be the Match” drive happening throughout the spring 2019 semester. The goal of this initiative is to raise awareness of leukemia, the most common form of pediatric cancer.
Jade Walker, a senior majoring in Family and Child Development, was recently appointed to head up the initiative for the spring 2019 semester. Walker hopes to get more students involved in this event than in previous semesters.
“Being able to … display the love of Christ to these people, even if not explicitly said, really shows the mission of Liberty and (Liberty’s) Love Your Melon well,” Walker said. “You are showing them Jesus through service.”
Students who participate in “Be the Match” will be entered in the national bone marrow database, which is used to match potential donors to those struggling with leukemia. The date of the event has not yet been announced.
By selling beanies and starting over 800 on campus crews, the Love Your Melon brand has raised awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research, as well as provide hope for the children battling cancer. In a recent study, the American Cancer Society reported that approximately 16,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the U.S. Meanwhile, only 4 percent of annual federal cancer research funds are dedicated to studying pediatric cancer.
Walker explained that the process to find potential donors is simple – participants are only cheek swabbed.
“People get freaked out because they think of a giant needle in their spine,” Walker said.
Even though the odds of being a match are low, Love Your Melon finds it important to make more people aware of the widespread suffering of leukemia.
Liberty’s Love Your Melon crew is three years old and has had many opportunities to minister to families in the Lynchburg area who are going through the journey of pediatric cancer.
Throughout the school year, the club has tables where students sign cards or make care packages for children in the community who are battling cancer. Sometimes, the club gets the chance to have a play date with a child and remind the child and their families that they are cared for and not forgotten.
The club also hosts weekly meetings on Tuesdays.
“We also try each meeting to highlight a kid we are working with or have worked with in the past, give updates on where they are with their diagnosis and pray for them,” Walker said.
The crew has recently won awards for their community involvement. Last spring, the crew put together a banquet night with the help of the Ronald McDonald House to provide some of the local families dealing with pediatric cancer with a chance to relax, enjoy spending time together, and most of all, be treated like normal families.
“If you have ever talked to a parent with a child who is … battling cancer, their number one request is to be treated and talked to like they are normal,” Walker said.
Even though members receive CSER credit for participating, they do not view it as the main reason for doing it.
“Yeah, it’s an apparel business, and yeah you get CSER, but to me it’s so much more than that,” Walker said. “It’s about the opportunity you have to really help and minister to these families.”
Membership on the crew is capped by the Love Your Melon organization at 30 members and, due to some members recently graduating, there are a few slots open for the spring semester. Students who are interested in joining Liberty’s Love Your Melon Campus Crew can contact Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To stay up to date with Liberty’s Love Your Melon Crew, students can follow the group on Facebook at @lymlibertyu or on Twitter and Instagram as @lym_lu.