CLIVE, Iowa – The founders of a Minnesota-based children's charity came to the metro to share the story of why they started the Pinky Swear Foundation.
Steven and Becky Chepokas spoke to about 100 people at the Healthy Living Center in Clive. The couple started the organization 13 years ago after their 9-year-old son died from stage four bone cancer.
Mrs. Chepokas said, "Never get tired of telling the story of Mitch. That little boy of ours changed our life."
The Chepokas started the Pinky Swear Foundation in memory of their son Mitch. He was in the hospital the Christmas before he died and asked his father to take the $6,000 he had in his savings account and give it away to the other families in the hospital.
He made his father promise he would continue helping children with cancer after he died. Mr. Chepokas said, “It was then that we sealed it with a pinky swear after he passed on that we would continue to help other families.”
The foundation now assists families in 42 states by providing money to pay for non-medical expenses, like mortgage, gas, and other bills.
The organization came to Des Moines a year ago through a partnership with Hy-Vee and the kids triathlon.
Pinky Swear Executive Director Brian Nelson said, "We've been very excited about kids helping kids, in which we feel is our special sauce that kids that are able to run, bike, and swim are able to help kids that are less fortunate."
The Hy-Vee Pinky Swear Kids Triathlon is July 23rd at Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines. It's for kids six to eighteen. You can register at pinkyswear.org/triathlons.