Saturday, July 19, 2008

Miracle Kids Triathlon

Kerry and I had the opportunity to witness 300+ kids racing this morning at the Miracles Kids triathlon. This race is directed by Age Group World Champion Tony Shiller, and helps raise funds for the Miracles of Mitch Foundation. This was certainly one of those volunteer situations where I gained much more from the experience than I could have possibly provided. It was truly inspiring.

The Miracles of Mitch foundation was created by the family of Mitchell Chepokas, whose life was cut short by cancer at the age of 9. I had the privilege of hearing Mitch’s story from his father and I will try to summarize what I heard from Steve today:

‘Mitch was an amazing kid, who despite having terminal cancer, wanted to help other kid’s less fortunate. It was around Christmas 2003, when Mitch heard another kid ask if they would still have Christmas. The parents responded that they would love too, but didn’t have any money. That family was sleeping in their car in the middle of winter to be with their child during the cancer treatment. Mitch heard this conversation and immediately asked his dad how much money he has saved (Mitch had been receiving a lot of support and gifts). With $600 in the bank, he told his dad to give it all to this family!! Even at 9 years old, and in spite of his diagnosis, Mitch considered himself lucky and made his father pinkie swear to help the families of kids with cancer when he’d be gone.’

I pulled this from their website, “Steve, Becky and Melissa Chepokas have created a safety net and tangible resource for the various needs of the families of these special children. MOMF provides rapid assistance (typically checks are cut within 48 hours of grant approval) to families so that they can focus on their child and spend precious time together as a family.” WOW!!

The Theme for the Miracles Kids triathlon is “kids racing for kids who can’t”
Each child wears # 1 and proudly write a child’s name (a cancer patient) on their left calf and races in that child’s honor. No race times are recorded- The kids raise money for the foundation and everyone is a winner.

With good reason, the kids were so happy and proud of what they accomplished.

These inspiring people remind me of my favorite motto “we have a choice in our thoughts and actions, so do everything you can to choose positive ones”. Mitch’s parents took a sad tragedy and turned it into something truly positive and meaningful.

I’m sure Mitch’s parents can find peace knowing their son is watching from Heaven and IS PROUD of everything his parents have done.