Twelve years ago, the Chanhassen community gathered to help Steve Chepokas keep a promise of the most solemn kind: a pinky swear to his 9-year old son, Mitch, to help other kids with cancer and their families after he was gone. Thus the Miracles of Mitch Foundation—renamed the Pinky Swear Foundation last December—was born.
The organization is doing something different with its annual kids’ triathlon this year by hosting the race on August 1 in Minneapolis, with a picnic and awards ceremony on August 15 in Chanhassen. More than 1,500 kids are expected at the picnic, which will include a DJ, food, activities, and a chance to hear Steve and Becky, Mitch’s parents, speak. Most importantly, families will get to meet the All-stars, the children with cancer, right in Chanhassen—Mitch’s hometown. “The roots of the organization were founded in Chanhassen,” says executive director Brian Nelson. “They helped us get our start, and continue to be an important part of who we are.”
In addition to changing its name, the foundation has also changed office locations (from Chanhassen to Bloomington), remodeled its website, and launched National Pinky Swear Day (December 11, the day Mitch and his dad made the original vow). “The idea [for the rebrand] was to make it a universal symbol,” Nelson says. “Steve and Becky are 100 percent supportive. Mitch will always be honored and be a part of the story.”