2024 Women of Impact – Kathryn Martin

Introducing Kathryn Martin, a true embodiment of resilience, compassion, and unwavering determination! 
As a proud Veteran of the US Army, Kathryn has dedicated 20 years of her life in service to her country, leaving an indelible mark of honor and bravery. Yet, her impact transcends military service. Through her nonprofit organization, Melanated Melon, Kathryn extends her hand of support to children and families grappling with the challenges of childhood cancer, providing vital assistance and spreading hope in the face of adversity.
Guided by the nurturing spirit of her grandmother, Kathryn infuses every endeavor with boundless love and care, whether it’s within her own family or through her relentless commitment to community service. In her daily life, Kathryn exemplifies strength, fearlessness, and unwavering self-belief, confronting challenges head-on and emerging victorious with resilience as her guiding force. 
As a devoted mother to five remarkable daughters, Kathryn not only leads by example but also champions the next generation of women, instilling in them the values of self-worth, resilience, and the unwavering belief in their ability to overcome any obstacle. Her mantra? “Give yourself some grace.” In the whirlwind of life’s toughest moments, Kathryn reminds us all to be kind to ourselves, to acknowledge our humanity, and to embrace the journey with compassion and understanding.
Kathryn Martin’s journey is a testament to the power of service, compassion, and empowerment. For a daily dose of inspiration and empowerment, connect with Kathryn on social media platforms @melanatedmelon or visit www.melanatedmelon.org. Let her light illuminate your path and inspire you to reach new heights of greatness!
Thank you Dawn Johnson and Team for this amazing nomination and interview. Find more amazing interviews here Women of Impact 2024
Self-Care Weekend 2024
The 2024 Women of Impact will be recognized at this year’s She Shed, She Gives Brunch during Self-Care Weekend, on November 3rd. Embark on a transformative journey with our Self-Care Weekend—a vibrant tapestry of experiences crafted for the everyday woman who wears many hats. From empowering breakout sessions and rejuvenating sunrise yoga to lively happy hours, nights on the town, and indulgent spa treatments, our carefully curated itinerary ensures a rich spectrum of activities. Unwind, connect, and celebrate the multifaceted essence of womanhood as you delve into workshops designed to enhance emotional, physical, and financial well-being. This weekend is more than an escape; it’s a celebration of you, weaving moments of self-discovery and joy into every thread of the experience. To learn more visit www.justdawnjohnson.com/self-care-weekend.
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Meet the Martin Family: From Grief to Grace – A Family’s Journey of Heartbreak and Healing

Life & The Bridge unveils the Martin family’s journey through profound tragedy and heartache, with Kathryn Martin at its heart. Amidst the darkness of loss, Kathryn’s unwavering determination shines as a beacon of hope. Her resilience and commitment to her family’s legacy drive her forward through the storms of grief. Through their collective struggles, the Martins exemplify the enduring strength of familial bonds. In their story, readers discover the transformative power of resilience and the triumph of hope over despair.

Thank you Life & The Bridge Magazine from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to share our story and a journey that is always changing and evolving.

Thank you also to Simona Walters Photography for the wonderful photography.


Life&theBridge_May 2024

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A Mother’s Fight Against Childhood Cancer

“This wasn’t supposed to be my life.” These are the words Kathryn Martin shares with us as she still grapples with the loss of her 15-year-old son to cancer. It’s been over two years since Johnathan passed away and the pain remains all too real. However, she’s using her nonprofit Melanated Melon to help other families dealing with the same hardships of childhood cancer.

Thank you PBS Charlotte for the wonderful interview of our young King Johnathan.

I do not own the rights to this video.


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Thank you Letter for the 2nd Annual Be Johnathan Strong 5K Run/Walk

The 2nd Annual Be Johnathan Strong 5K Run/Walk was greeted with great weather, awesome volunteers, elite guests, fantastic community support, friends, family and so much more. It is with great joy that I confirm our community race a success! To every volunteer, board member, vendor, food truck, in-kind gift, donation large and small, thank you. To our sponsors The YMCA, Celanese Chiropractic Health Performance, Woodforest Bank, Helen Adams Realty, Rock Hill Gymnastics, Phoenix Physical Therapy, Desira Tech, Pitters Accounting & Tax Professionals, The Goddard School, Audible Coaching and Consulting and Alpha Commission thank you for your unwavering support. This race could not have been possible without you. I would also like to add a very special thank you to Erin Sweem of M&R Printing for our wonderful event shirts and NFL Players Nate Salley (Carolina Panther), Ruvell Martin (Green Bay Packer) and Hilee Taylor (Carolina Panther) for their guest appearance during the Run/Pass/Play portion of the event. The fun and smiles you all provided our community were incredible and we look forward to working with you all again soon.

The Be Johnathan Strong 5K Run/Walk is Melanated Melon’s flagship event that allows our organization to get in front of the community and serve in a real way. The love we experienced while our son was transitioning sparked something within me to do more. With that motivation around me, prayer and a supportive husband by my side, I stepped out on faith, not only to support my own grief journey but to say in one loud communal voice CANCER SUCKS! So, thank you from the bottom of my heart for meeting the moment Fort Mill and surrounding areas. You all are the best kind of people and I cannot wait to see how we turn South Carolina gold in support of our kids and families experiencing this frustrating disease. #southcaroliniansCANCERve

So you missed the race. That’s okay, there are plenty of ways to be apart of the ripple Melanated Melon is creating. Our community needs your time, talent, and/or treasures. Contact Kathryn Martin at bejohnathanstrong@melanatedmelon.org and lets talk about how your donation, sponsorship or volunteerism can make a difference.

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Project Management Institute (PMI) – Carolina Chapter Professional Development Day 2023

Thank you to PMI-Carolina Chapter for allowing me to speak at Professional Development Day 2023. I appreciate any opportunity to discuss the impact of childhood cancer on our family, other families and the community. Take aways that time did not allow for, find a nonprofit that you can provide your services to, for free, and figure out ways to support that community work through your project management experience, help us to build powerful community engagement tools that speak to the mission of our organizations and, finally, leverage your resources, time, talent and network so that we can assist more people. Thank you PMI-Carolina for bring awareness to the needs of nonprofit organizations. It starts here!”#melanatedmelon #bejohnathanstrong #pmicarolina #PMI #projectmanagentinstitute #pmi-carolina #childhoodcancerawareness #ChildhoodCancerAwarenessMonth


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Thank You for Making the First Sip & Swing Fundraiser a Success!

Hey Folks!

Seeing a mixed community of people joined together under one cause is something truly special. To those who joined us at the Sip & Swing Fundraiser, sponsors, board members, community leaders, friends and family alike, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Michael and I could not have been more pleased with the turnout. It was hot and humid, even indoors, but you continued to rock with us and be a part of the magic. Watching our team pull this event together was amazing and so worth every ounce of effort given. Seeing old faces, new again, the mixing, the mingling all inspired me, even more, to be a human that creates memorable moments for all those with whom I serve, and this is just the beginning. We got to live vicariously through the beautiful 5-year-old Miss Aubree Cerruti of Sumpter, SC. After only meeting her a couple of days before the event, she showed me what winning looks like, for her, in this cancer space. She is living a full life, uninhibited by her diagnosis and focused on all the things around her because her mind is a little sponge right now. Life is full and exciting! She is bright and wants to be everything to include a rapper! (That tickled me pink!) She even took time to honor her daddy, Rob, mama, Kara, and sister Carmella during the event. She is reminded, in her speech, that her helps comes from them. It was genuine and heartfelt.

And while we could have focused on the hard part of not having Johnathan here, we found an opportunity to hunt the good stuff and showcase what this journey has provided us. We have been able to assist 6 families since our inception, raise $5,000 through this event by the generous support of our sponsors, participants and angel donors, give a $500 gift to the Cerruti Family, honor Cancer Warrior Aubree Cerruti, connect with great humans and so much more.

So, while we prepare for the last two events of the year please save the date for Saturday, September 9, 2023. Our Wreath and Wine Fundraiser is sure to bring merriment this holiday season. With registration comes a wreath making workshop, wine and heavy hors d’oeuvre. Come build a holiday wreath for yourself, a friend, or gift your wreath to a family in the hospital all while resourcing resilient families fighting childhood cancer. There will be door prizes and best wreath contest. No artistic skill required. All materials available on site. Finally, the 2nd Annual Be Johnathan Strong 5K Run/Walk is ready to accept registration! Follow the link HERE to register. Sponsors and food trucks inquires please contact Kathryn Martin via email at Kathryn.b.martin2@gmail.com or Ebonee McCain at eboneemccain18@gmail.com.

Stay safe and healthy. See you all soon…blessings.



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Childhood Cancer Warrior Aubree Cerruti


Aubree is this beautiful, vivacious, precious, funny and extremely intelligent little girl. Her laugh is infectious, and her sense of humor is by far the greatest of all of her God-given gifts. Have I mentioned kindness? Prior to diagnosis Aubree was always helping someone else or thinking about how to make other’s smile. It’s just the type of pure little soul she has always been. So of course, after diagnosis it wasn’t shocking to see Aubree in her Anna or Minnie Mouse hospital gown making cards, bracelets, pictures for literally any and everyone.

In early 2022, after just moving to Manning, South Carolina from Long Island, New York, our 5-year-old daughter Aubree got diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia completely out of the BLUE! Her world went from attending school, playing with friends and riding her NEW bike to suddenly frequenting the hospital more than she ever has before and no longer being able to do those 3 things listed above for a while (until at least the end of treatment). During her countless hospital stays she endures chemotherapy, daily medications, blood transfusions, constant nausea, biopsies, CT scans, MRI’s, lumbar punctures after anesthesia, temperature checks, and the list goes on and on.

My husband Rob, Aubree’s 3-year-old sister Carmella and I have to watch as Aubree suffers. Aubree will drop to her knees no matter where she is and pray, this little girl knows that the Lord loves her. Though she has been praying a lot lately. These last couple of months she has dealt with neuropathy pains, stomach pains, daily steroid medications, chemo and daily nausea.

In the middle of treatment, we found out our landlords were selling our house and we needed to search for a new place to live, which we ultimately were blessed to find a home to rent in Sumter County. Now almost two years living in South Carolina, we all take an active part in Aubree’s care. Her daily steroid medication makes her ravenously hungry all day, every day and her Tuesday maintenance medication makes her irritable, ill, exhausted and anxious to name a few.

None of the things Aubree has endured physically, mentally or emotionally this year should have to be learned at 4 or 5-years-old. All in all, she is lucky to still see the joy in chaos and is brought peace by her friends and family. Aubree’s interests include; The Disney Princesses, all things Disney, unicorns, zoos, puzzles, painting, drawing, basically anything art related, swimming pools, playing with her younger sister and friends, her school- Harvest Community in Summerton, giraffes, and her two dogs, Babs and Buster.

Aubree and her family need your help. Bills are piling up, daily medications make grocery bills enormous, some medicines are not covered, gas to and from the hospital, the list goes on and on.

Any financial contributions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you and God Bless.

Please follow AubreeStrong on Facebook, Venmo or visit

GoFundMe + type Aubree Strong  Journey



Kat, thank you so much for hosting, decorating, coordinating, and inviting Aubree and I to come to your wondrous event. If we didn’t get a chance to meet last night, Hi there! My name is Kara and my spectacular daughter Aubree was in attendance last night for the amazing event hosted by Kat Martin with Melanated Melon honoring Johnathan McCain at Top Golf in Charlotte, NC. It was our honor to be there to not only support but enjoy this wonderful event that Melanated Melon has organized. Please do Aubree a HUGE FAVOR and share her Facebook page.


The point of shares, likes and follows, is not only to get awareness of what Aubree is going through but to advocate for all the children who are suffering with pediatric cancer around the world and ESPECIALLY IN OUR GREAT TWO STATES of North and South Carolina. Together with Kat, Michael and their family, Ms. Kristine Schaffer and all of you we can continue to advocate for all of these children!

So please, again like and share Aubree’s page! As you all got to see last night her laugh is infectious and her personality is an explosion of kindness so Shout out to her on Facebook or find her on Instagram at aubreestrongxo

And to all the other wonderful people I had the chance to speak with and briefly get to know please STAY IN TOUCH!

We will continue to pray for sweet Johnathan, his family and a very special prayer for a Warrior Dad I met last night named Gary with Terrier Financial. We will continue to keep him, his family and precious Eden in prayer too.

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U.S. Congressman Fighting to Add More Funding to Fight Childhood Cancer

ROCK HILL, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. A chance to honor children who are battling and who has passed.

Sadly more than 1,000 children under the age of 15 are expected to die from cancer this year in the U.S.

Its the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14.

A Fort Mill mom knows that all too well after her son passed away after fighting a rare type of cancer called NUT Midline Carcinoma.

For Fort Mill’s Kathryn Martin, the bond she had with her 15 year old son, Jonathan will never be broken.

“He was a mentor, he loved to volunteer”, says Kathryn.

Kathryn, an Army Veteran and mom of 7 says she and her family moved to Fort Mill to be closer to family in the summer of 2021.

Suddenly life came to a tragic stop after Jonathan, who was always healthy started to feel sick. Soon he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer called NUT Midline Carcinoma.

He was given 6 months to live. Martin says her son fought like a warrior, never giving up with his mom right by his side. Jonathan had countless treatments to fight the disease.

But on October 5th 2021, Jonathan’s fought as hard as he could, Kathryn says he passed away surrounded by those who love him the most.

According to experts only 4 percent of federal funding goes to researching childhood cancers. Congressman Ralph Norman says something has to change, that’s why he introduced the Fighting Cancer in Children Act.

Norman says the act would put an additional $30 million towards pediatric cancer research, awareness, and survivorship.

U.S. Congressman Fighting to Add More Funding to Fight Childhood Cancer

The write up for this link was drafted by CN2 news.

“Additionally, spending on this bill will be fully offset, meaning it comes from other areas of the federal government and will not increase taxes or debt. Because I’m a fiscal hawk, many of you know I’m averse to any new spending that’s not offset elsewhere – that’s not the case here.
Perhaps the most helpless feeling a parent can experience is watching their child suffer through illness. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and fighting pediatric cancer is a critical endeavor. I’m proud to stand behind this legislation”, says Norman.
Kathryn says the last year has been extremely hard, but what keeps her going is keeping Jonathan’s memory alive through a nonprofit she started called Melanated Melon, representing the many shades of baldness she says witnessed in Jonathan’s journey.
Kathryn Martin says Johnathan wanted to be an engineer and was planning to be a part of the Catawba Ridge High School Band. She adds she’s thankful for the support her Fort Mill community has shown, Her nonprofit, Melanated Melon is holding The “Be Johnathan Strong Annual” 5k Run and Walk.  It will be on December 10th.
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