Super Cool Kettering University’s Love Your Melon Crew


Love Your Melon is a nationwide organization that has found a place here in Flint. Dedicated to improving the lives of children with cancer, the simple idea of donating and selling beanies allows both the givers and receivers to smile big.

It started in Flint with the click of a mouse.

Earlier this year, Rania Fanous, Kettering’s LYM Captain, was browsing Facebook when she saw an advertisement for Love Your Melon. “I thought it was such a cool idea,” she says. “The ad said, ‘Click here to become an ambassador,’ so I did!”

loveyourmelonkettering-4To start the process, applicants must complete about six pages of paperwork. Once that was accepted, the main the LYM crew immediately began sending binders of information, resources and contact information to Kettering to help the group get started. LYM helps assign families, schedule all of their donation events, and help them jump-start any other activities. “It was a really easy process for us, because they’re so organized,” says Maddie Geffert, Kettering’s LYM Public Relations Manager.

Of the 14 ambassadors on Kettering’s crew, the four student officers have been affected by cancer in some way, and have great passion for what they do.

“Cancer has been in my family,” says Rania. “I saw this, and I thought it was the perfect way to give back. I wanted to go one step further – something I could do every day.”

“I like getting to meet with children who have cancer,” adds Liz Lonheim, Secretary. “It’s more than just raising money. This is more personal – you get to bond with the kids.”

“I’m very passionate about this, because a lifelong friend was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma,” says Maddie. “He’s been battling it for most of his life, and I’d like to make him and his family proud.”

Liz Milanov, Vice Captain, had a similar situation when a friend died of cancer at 17, just before Rania sent out the e-mail to Kettering’s student body. “I wanted to do right by her family, so that’s why I joined,” she shares.

“LYM starts a conversation with people of all ages in the community
about cancer awareness in a really light, yet informative way.”
Maddie Geffert, PR Manager




When it comes to the crew’s favorite part about Love Your Melon, it’s unanimous – Superhero Day is it! Celebrated nationwide on April 28, there were about 578 Superhero Day events and more than 14,000 hats and capes donated.

On Superhero Day, the crew treats a child with cancer as the “superhero” and spends the entire day with them. Love Your Melon set up the Kettering group with Wyatt, a nine-year-old who is in currently in remission from Lymphoma. They played outside together, the students brought him gifts, and they had ice cream for dinner. And Wyatt, already a superhero fan, enjoyed every minute of it.

“Wyatt was smiling from ear-to-ear,” Rania shares. “It was the best thing I have ever seen. We were helping someone forget their struggles for just one day. I would do that every day, if I could.”

The Kettering crew hopes to continue fostering a relationship with Wyatt and his family. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, they are in it for the long-term to emotionally support Wyatt – or any other child they are introduced to – in any way they can.

loveyourmelonkettering-5In addition to supporting families set up by LYM, the crew will eventually work with local hospitals, like McLaren and Hurley, to deliver hats to kids who are in the hospitals receiving treatment. Currently, the crew has earned 76 credits; they need 100 to be able to pass out hats in the hospitals. Because of the summer recess, they will resume counting credits toward their goal in August.

Earning 50 credits gets the crew a basic promotional kit that includes wristbands and other resources; with 100 credits, they receive five hats from LYM to give to hospitalized kids; 150 credits earns them even more promotional items; and 750 credits earns them a “Superhero Adventure” – they can plan an entire day of crazy, adventurous activity, paid for entirely by LYM. Some credit levels earn them a chance to host LYM events on the Kettering campus, or donate even more hats to kids in local hospitals.

“The credit limits do help us stay motivated,” Rania smiles, adding that in 2015, approximately 52,000 hats were donated at 705 donation events by LYM crews in 46 states.

After Love Your Melon achieved the original goal of giving 5,000 hats to children undergoing cancer treatment, they set a new goal of donating one million dollars to pediatric cancer research and providing immediate support to the children and their families.

LYM has also partnered with CureSearch and the Pinky Swear Foundation. With 25 percent of the net proceeds donated from each organization, the funds go toward finding a cure for cancer, as well as to help support to families with mortgage and rent payments, gas cards, and therapeutic programs in the hospital. Maddie stated, according to LYM statistics, that alleviating these issues for families has proven to greatly increase the survival rate for the kids undergoing treatment.

“The goal is to try and raise the kids’ spirits, and provide a therapeutic experience for them and their families, because it is such a difficult time,” Maddie says. “To receive support from everyone at Kettering would be a dream come true.” Just in the past three months, the crew has noticed that many students are wearing different hats around campus.


Until counting hat credits resumes in August, to help reach their 500-credit goal, the Kettering crew is anything but idle, as they work toward increasing their community involvement.

“Love Your Melon starts a conversation with people of all ages in the community about cancer awareness in a really light, yet informative way,” says Maddie.

“Cancer causes many problems,” Rania adds. “But we are trying everything we can to make those issues disappear.”

To purchase your own Love Your Melon knit beanies, caps, accessories, and other apparel, you can visit To support Kettering’s efforts, wait until August to select their LYM chapter at time of checkout. In the meantime, stay updated with Kettering’s LYM Crew by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Kettering University’s LYM crew includes (L-r) Liz Milanov, Rania Fanous, Maddie Geffert & Liz Lonheim


Photography by Eric Dutro


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