The Miracles of Mitch Foundation began with a pinky promise between father and son. Nine-year-old Mitch Chepokas was dying of cancer, but that didn’t stop him from wanting to help others. During the holiday season of 2003, Steve promised Mitch he’d continue helping other cancer kids and their families. Today he is living out that pinky promise through The Miracles of Mitch Foundation, which provides financial and quality-of-life assistance to pediatric cancer families throughout Minnesota.
The foundation’s biggest fundraiser is the MiracleKids Triathlon, which, according to race director and world champion triathlete Tony Schiller, is “unlike any other kids’ sporting event.” In this triathlon, kids are swimming, biking and running in honor of another child who is currently battling cancer in Minnesota, and “kids feel like they are part of a mission,” Schiller says. The event starts off with a procession, led by the kids racing for those who can’t. “They’re rock stars at our event,” Schiller says. “It’s a fun, inspired day.”
The triathlon began in 2004, and since then, about 6,000 kids have raced and more than $850,000 has been raised for the foundation—this year organizers hope to top $1 million. —Carolyn Pierson