For more information about The Miracles of Mitch Foundation visit www.MiraclesOfMitch.org.
Daily Miracles … in the Spirit of Mitch
The Miracles of Mitch are the daily good works inspired by 9-year-old Mitch Chepokas to help the families of children battling cancer in Minnesota. Sealed with a pinky swear between Mitch and his father, Steve, The Miracles of Mitch Foundation (MOMF) was created to honor Mitch’s desire to support these families during a stressful time in their lives.
Since its inception in 2003, The Miracles of Mitch Foundation has provided financial and quality-of-life assistance to hundreds of pediatric cancer families. The foundation operates as though “time is of the essence” because, in most cases, it is.
A 501(c)3 organization, MOMF helps kids being treated for cancer at Minnesota's five primary pediatric cancer treatment facilities: Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota (Minneapolis and St. Paul), University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital, St Mary's Medical Center in Duluth and the Mayo Clinic. We work directly through each hospital's social worker network.
Fulfilling a Need for Families in Crisis
Billions of dollars are spent annually to research cancer cures. But, minute by minute, another child falls victim to this horrible disease while waiting desperately for a cure. During the course of treatment, these pediatric cancer families often experience financial hardship through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, most families with a child diagnosed with cancer will typically lose up to 70 percent of the family income in that first year of treatment due to one or both parents reducing their work schedule in order to be at the hospital with the child. Many also have exhausted their health insurance and are paying hospital expenses out of their own pocket. MOMF assists these families by: making mortgage/rent and car payments, purchasing groceries, hosting a five-day summer camp for current and past pediatric cancer patients and their siblings, hosting Minnesota Miracle weekend getaways, and creating specially-tailored quality-of-life initiatives for kids with an advanced stage of cancer.
Founded on a True Spirit of Giving
MOMF founders, Becky and Steve Chepokas, know what it means to lose a child, a child who could not survive until the arrival of that miracle cure. They've also experienced the financial challenges families face during a long-term or terminal illness. No better understands how precious memories of good days together, times spent with family and friends, and enjoying each moment to the fullest are the best defense against despair and depression of losing a child.
One of Steve Chepokas' fondest memories is of his 9-year-old son Mitch's last Christmas in December 2002. Mitch realized this would probably be his last Christmas, yet he refused to think only of himself. He believed his fellow pediatric cancer patients at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital had needs far greater than his own. After all, he reasoned, he was surrounded by family, friends, gifts, and lots of love. Although friends from around the world sent him money to use as he saw fit, his time was running out
Mitch initiated a random act of kindness to ease their day-to-day burden and help ensure they had a happy holiday season. "Dad, these families need help,” he said. “I want to give them my money." Steve and Mitch went to the bank and cleaned out his savings account—in denominations of crisp $100 bills. They stuffed the money into envelopes and delivered them anonymously under the doors of the other kids in the hospital, suddenly making their Christmas a little brighter. It's a memory the family will cherish forever, but it didn't end there.
Mitch, inspired by the holiday joy he had brought these families, hoped to again help them the next year. However, he immediately realized that he wouldn't live to see another Christmas. He made Steve “pinky swear” to continue helping these families after he was gone, easing their financial burden so they can enjoy their time together. As a result of this simple gesture, The Miracles of Mitch Foundation was born.
If you are interested in becoming a Shoot for a Miracle sponsor, volunteer or have questions, please contact Ryan Flom (612) 387-3348 or Paul Renslow (651) 338-1010.
Most families with a child diagnosed with cancer will typically lose about 70% of the family income in that first year of treatment.