The Minneapolis apparel brand that warms the heads of children fighting cancer is now warming the hearts of millions after appearing on Kathie Lee and Hoda on the "Today" show.
"Today" recently came to town to capture video at the Masonic Children's Hospital to tell the story of how two St. Thomas college buddies created cool — and warm — hats to benefit kids with cancer.
In the video, Kathie Lee explains that in 2012, college sophomores Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller started Love Your Melon as part of an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
The two friends came up with an idea to sell beanies, and for every hat that was sold, they'd donate one to a child with cancer.
Quinn purchased an old bus, recruited a bunch of college students (ambassadors) and toured the country for 75 days selling hats at college campuses.
"Then we'd go to the children's hospital next door and donate as many hats as we'd sold," he said.
The brand skyrocketed on social media, as it grabbed the attention of college students, style bloggers and celebrities like Ashton Kutcher. The soft, knit hats come in a variety of colors and feature a brown leather patch debossed with the Love Your Melon logo.
To date, Love Your Melon has donated more than 98,000 hats, more than $2.6 million to pediatric cancer research and has grown to more than 13,000 college ambassadors, including Nikki Karg and Olivia Hawley, who are featured in the "Today" clip.
"I know from experience that it's the worst to have your head feel cold," said Karg, who received one of the first Love Your Melon hats when she was battling cancer.
"I lost my hair, my eyebrows, my eyelashes, and as a female that was really hard for me," Hawley said. "'What got me through all of my treatments was seeing the little kids that were next to me walking around in the hallways, battling the same thing I went through.
On days when I wanted to give up I would look out my window and see them, and think 'I can do this, there are five-year-olds doing this.' "
"Unbelievable," Kathie Lee said. "Somebody raised those boys right."