Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group of students gathered at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital to honor the memory of a boy who had a dream of helping others.
Mitch Chepokas would have graduated from high school this year, but he died of bone cancer when he was just 9 years old.
Mitch made his father “pinky swear” that he would help families of other children battling cancer. Before Mitch passed away, he gave donations made to him to other kids in similar situations.
His family has since created the Miracles of Mitch Foundation in his name. They help hundreds of families who have ill children and have trouble paying bills and buying groceries.
The students at Chanhassen Elementary School and non-profit organization found out Amplatz Children’s Hospital had an empty food pantry for families and decided to help.
“We’re doing it for Mitch,” said Becky Chepokas, Mitch’s mother.
About 500 students from the school wore orange — Mitch’s favorite color — as they brought in snacks for children staying at the hospital. In some cases, they brought wagons full and walked them three blocks to the Miracles of Mitch Foundation.
Some kids brought money from their piggy banks and many students made a promise in Mitch’s name. A student named Jeremiah wrote, “I promise to help people in need.”
“It’s overwhelming to see all of these kids feeling the spirit of Mitch,” said Becky Chepokas. “For me as a mom, to know it’s not just helping the kids in the hospital, it’s changing the lives of all the kids involved today.”
The students donated a month’s worth of food for the kids at the hospital. This was the first time students at Chanhassen Elementary School have ever done anything like this.
Chanhassen High School will give Mitch’s family an honorary diploma at this year’s commencement ceremony.