Tigers for Hope fundraise for ‘Love Your Melon’ to fight childhood cancer

Emilie Kempen and her team, Tigers for Hope, raised awareness of Love Your Melon, a charity that gives a hat to a child with cancer with every purchase.

Love Your Melon College Ambassador Emilie Kempen stood in Speakers Circle on Oct. 22 to promote her team, Tigers for Hope.

They passed out informational flyers and stickers to spread awareness of Love Your Melon, a non-profit organization that gives a hat to a child with cancer for every product sold on their website.

Oct. 22 was national Love Your Melon Day, where events took place across the country.

“We wanted to spread the word, and we’ve gotten positive feedback from students,” Kempen said. “We wanted to make everyone aware of this important cause. Little things do make a difference.”

Love Your Melon started in an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in 2012 by two friends, Brian Keller and Zachary Quinn.

Since its foundation, Love Your Melon has sold more than 14,000 hats. Their company was featured on The Today Show and Good Morning America.

College ambassadors are spread across the nation and in Canada. Ambassadors promote the company on their campus and each team has a goal of selling 50 products.

Once they achieve their goal, the Love Your Melon team will come to a local children’s hospital for a hat giveaway event.

The company also sells scarves, baseball caps, bags, T-shirts and iPhone cases. All products are made in Minnesota.

Kempen and her team, which includes her younger sister Mollie and her friends, are close to achieving their goal.

“Cancer is an issue close to heart for us,” Emilie Kempen said.

The sisters’ father and a personal friend have both battled cancer, she said.

Junior Audrey Knodell, a volunteer, also helped Kempen spread awareness. She said she decided to get involved because she has a connection to this organization.

A friend of Knodell’s went to school with one of the founders of Love Your Melon, so Knodell has known about it since its beginning stages.

“I got to see it progress from when it was nothing more than a thought all the way to what it is now,” Knodell said.

Emilie Kempen said her involvement in the organization has affected her by inspiring her to make a difference and see her life differently.

“Seeing how two college students started this showed me that through hard work, we can make a difference,” she said. “You just need support and a great cause. It helps me keep things in perspective.”

Mollie Kempen said she is inspired by the outpouring of support they’ve seen.

“There’s so many people willing to help,” she said. “It makes me happy to see a smile on a child’s face.”

By spreading awareness on campus, Knodell said she hopes to get more people involved — including herself, by becoming a college ambassador for the non-profit soon.

“Cancer is something a lot of people can relate to because many have experienced it personally on some level through family members or friends,” Knodell said. “With Love Your Melon, it’s cool to actually see the benefits of everything that you’re doing.”

Once Tigers for Hope reaches their goal of selling 50 hats, they said they will raise their goal to 100, in order to benefit another hospital and expand Love Your Melon’s reach even further.

Emilie Kempen said she hopes to inform people of Love Your Melon and its mission and to encourage others to be a college ambassador as well.

Knodell said she believes this organization has already made an impact on her.

“I’m the best version of myself when I’m doing something for somebody else,” Knodell said. “That’s just part of who I am and that’s how I get my fulfillment, is by giving back to other people.”

Mollie Kempen said she hopes to see the impact this organization will have on the campus when people become more involved with Love Your Melon.

“It brings us closer together,” she said. “It makes everyone more aware so more people are willing to help.”

Emilie Kempen said she will continue her involvement in giving back to the community, and she sees the potential for Love Your Melon to be bigger.

“Giving back is what so much of life is about,” she said. “Everyone has tough times, but giving back reminds us that we are all in this together.”

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