WINDSOR HEIGHTS, Iowa -- Friday, a Midwest organization is raising money to help families of children with cancer. The Pinky Swear foundation was started more than 15 years ago when 9-year-old Mitch Chepokas was diagnosed with bone cancer. He overheard the family next to him in the hospital talk about how they couldn’t afford Christmas presents this year. Mitch took the rest of the money in his savings and gave it to every kid on the floor. He made his dad pinky swear to do this every year, even after he was gone. His dad kept the promise and the Pinky Swear Foundation is helping families all over the country.
To help local families, the Pinky Swear Foundation is hosting their fourth annual WHO Pinky Swear Foundation Radiothon, WHO Radio will be broadcasting live from Valley West Mall and collecting donations to help local families, like the Meyers from Windsor Heights.
The Meyer family was having a normal summer with trips to the pool and picnics outside. Then they found a lump on their 15-month-old son James and their world was turned upside down.
“In the span of three days, we went from having fun at the splash pad and having a normal summer to being hospitalized for childhood cancer,” James’ mother MaryBeth Meyer said.
James was diagnosed with Bilateral Wilms, cancer in both of his kidneys. He’s gone through 12 rounds of chemotherapy, two major surgeries and 16 days in the hospital.
“Life continues to happen even when your kid has cancer,” Meyer said. “In July, when our son was diagnosed, we went through the craziness of the diagnosis and started treatment and we got home, and our air conditioning completely died, like could not be saved, completely died.”
So, on top of the medical bills that were rolling in, the Meyers had to replace their HVAC system. That’s when MaryBeth Meyer reached out for funding from the Pinky Swear Foundation, which helps families with non-medical expenses.
“We haven’t had to worry about our groceries, we haven’t had to worry about if we’re going to be able to pay our mortgage, which we are hugely blessed for that,” Meyer said.
“These individuals can’t plan for this, you know, you can plan for sending your child to college, you can plan for weddings, you can plan for your retirement, but you never plan to hear those words that your child has cancer,” Pinky Swear Foundation Iowa Area Director said.
The radiothon has a goal of raising $100,000 in a day, you can stop by the Valley West Mall Friday from 5 A.M. to 8 P.M. to make a donation in person or you can donate online at https://secure.qgiv.com/event/radiothon2018/ or over the phone by calling the toll-free number 833-456-5437.