Love Your Melon takes on the Ultimate Hike
Nothing says a commitment to partnership quite like getting the team together and lacing up your boots to hike more than 25 miles – and that’s exactly what our partners Love Your Melon did for our Superior Hiking Trail Ultimate Hike. With one of the largest turnouts for the event yet, the Superior Hiking Trail team has raised more than $110,000 and counting for children’s cancer research! Thanks to the support of our hikers and partners like Love Your Melon, it was an incredibly successful, inspirational and emotional event. We chatted with Katie Spiegle, PR & Social Media Director at Love Your Melon about the team’s experience on the trail, here’s what she had to say:
Tell us about Love Your Melon and its connection to childhood cancer.
Love Your Melon is an apparel brand dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer as well as supporting nonprofit organizations who lead the fight against pediatric cancer. Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller founded the company in 2012 while the two were sophomores in college. Fifty percent of profit from the sale of all Love Your Melon products is given to Love Your Melon’s nonprofit partners in the fight against pediatric cancer. To date, Love Your Melon has given over 147,000 beanies to children battling cancer and contributed over $4.7 million to fund cancer research initiatives.
Why does Love Your Melon support CureSearch?
Through our partnership with CureSearch, we are working together to accelerate the world’s leading pediatric cancer research. To date, we have given $768,607 across two different CureSearch programs: Dr. Davis’s research and the Catapult Awards. A portion of the funds support Dr. Davis, a Young Investigator who is conducting research on B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (B-Cell ALL) at Stanford University.
Additionally, we are dedicating funds to support the Catapult Awards. This project aims to identify the most promising research and remove the hurdles blocking these treatments from reaching clinical tests. Once the strongest research projects are identified, our funds help these studies move out of the academic lab and into trials, where they actually reach children. Ultimately, this means leading research will turn into real, significant results that will save children now.
What does it mean for you to participate in the Ultimate Hike?
For us as a Love Your Melon team, participating in the CureSearch Ultimate Hike was an extremely meaningful way to literally put our boots to the ground and take action on the things we care about. We work hard every day in difference facets of our company, but it is always good to step away from the office and remind ourselves of the cause behind our efforts. The hike was a humbling way to motivate and inspire us to continue working hard in support of children and families battling pediatric cancer.
What was a memorable moment from your hike experience?
The hike was long – 25.5 miles long – and took our group most of the day to complete. We woke up long before the crack of dawn and began trudging single-file through soggy, muddy paths with only our headlamps as our guides for each step. As the morning went on, the skies remained overcast, which provided a somber setting as we marched on. I found myself thinking a lot about the families that were hiking in honor of a loved one affected by pediatric cancer, and how emotional this hike experience must be for them. For us as a team, each step was a commitment to enduring this small challenge in support of the families who endure much bigger challenges every day.
I remember the moment that afternoon when the sun broke through the otherwise cloudy, grey skies. It was near the end of the hike, and the glimmer of sunlight seemed to be a perfect reminder of the hope in the fight against pediatric cancer. Childhood cancer is a grey, dreary subject, and is a long, weary journey for many families, but the sun reminded me there is a ray of hope for better treatments and cures. That hope is our reason for hiking, and for continuing to fight pediatric cancer through the work we do every day.
Tell us about how it felt to be surrounded by so many people who have been affected by childhood cancer.
It was extremely humbling to be taking on this challenge among such a resilient group of people. Countless conversations on the trail unearthed heartbreaking stories of the ups and downs of pediatric cancer treatments, the importance of strong family bonds and the many triumphs and tragedies of the pediatric cancer journey. As a team, we were able to walk alongside these individuals as they recounted their very personal reasons for hiking. Whenever we felt tired, these stories and realizations helped us to continue on, knowing that our slightest bit of discomfort was worthwhile for those children and families who are experiencing the most difficult time in their lives.
What is your hope for the future of childhood cancer?
Our hope is for a future where no childhood is defined by pediatric cancer. We hope for less-toxic treatments for these children, and ultimately we hope for cures that will ensure no child has to endure pediatric cancer. We feel hopeful about these goals, especially when we hear about the incredible research being conducted by our partners like CureSearch!
At CureSearch, we’re inspired by our partners at Love Your Melon and every Ultimate Hike participant and supporter. Help us continue to raise funds for children’s cancer research! Learn more about how you can get involved with the Ultimate Hike at ultimatehike.org or consider donating today to our mission to end children’s cancer.
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