Hy-Vee Seasons magazine: Back to School 2016

Since 2003, the Pinky Swear Foundation has given financial and material support to children with cancer and their families. The foundation helps provide the quality of life that every child deserves.

In 2002, 8-1/2-year-old Mitch Chepokas of Chanhassen, Minnesota, was diagnosed with bone cancer. Around Christmas that year, Mitch asked for his father’s help in distributing $6,000 from Mitch’s savings account to help other families with children battling cancer.

Mitch’s father agreed to take out the money, but Mitch also asked, “Pinky swear with me that you will do this forever.” The father and son linked fingers, and Steve Chepokas made the forever commitment.

A few months later, Mitch passed away, but not before he and Steve signed papers setting up an organization, later named the Pinky Swear Foundation. Its mission is to provide funds for the needs of children with cancer and their families.

Mitch has now been gone for more years than he lived. But the end of Mitch’s short life wasn’t the end of his influence. Mitch inspired tens of thousands of people to help other boys, girls and their families struggling against various forms of pediatric cancer.

Founding on Mitch's dream to help others, the Pinky Swear organization is reaching out daily to assist families as they navigate all the challenges that a cancer diagnosis brings. While many other nonprofits donate to the search for cures, Pinky Swear is focused on kids with cancer and their families. The goal is to make life as stress-free as possible for those who do not know what tomorrow brings.

Funds go to cover expenses for families in crisis. The foundation pays for food, rent, motels, utility bills or whatever is most needed by families facing a deadly foe. Money is raised through such activities as:

  • Noncompetitive youth triathlons. Staged throughout the Midwest on summer weekends, these triathlons are open to kids from 6 to 18 years old.

  • Athletic teams. Called Playing for Pinky Swear, this program lets athletic teams adopt a child battling pediatric cancer. Teams play and fund-raise in honor of their All-Star Pinky Swear teammate throughout the season. The athletes get to know All-Star families and engage with them personally.

  • Mess Fest. A muddy slopstacle course draws kids and their families to race in this unusual fund-raiser. Perk’s Pinky Swear MessFest takes place September 10 at MN Pro Paintball in Lakeville, Minnesota.

There are countless ways that anyone who desires can support Pinky Swear in its mission. All it takes to help pediatric cancer victims and their families is to get in touch with the foundation. Find out about what you can do by visiting www.pinkyswear.org.

Source: Hy-Vee Seasons Magazine Summer 2016