Charlotte, NC (February 19, 2018)—The third annual Pinky Swear Orange and Blue Gala was a resounding success, raising $158,330 to further the mission to provide emotional and financial support to kids with cancer and their families in North Carolina and across the country.
“We are so grateful for over 330 generous guests, volunteers, sponsors, and families, who all came together to make this night so magical,” commented Sue Ratcliff, Pinky Swear Area Director. “The sold-out event was our most successful event to date in North Carolina, and even surpassed our goal.”
Hosted on the shores of Lake Norman at Trump National Golf Club in Mooresville, North Carolina on Saturday, February 3, 2018, the evening’s program included six local All-Stars – kids with cancer – and their families who have been supported by Pinky Swear, including eight-year-old All-Star Noah (pictured).
A special film premiered before Noah’s mom, Tracy Prieto, shared her touching story about how Pinky Swear helped with rent and utility payments after her son – one of four children – was diagnosed with leukemia in 2015.
Thirteen-year-old All-Star Ally, now in remission after a 13-month battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, bravely told her story, and introduced her All-Star peers to the program stage.
Cecilia Peedin, mother to three-year-old All-Star River, took the stage to talk about the financial and emotional support they’ve received during their son’s current battle with leukemia.
“Thank you, Pinky Swear, for inviting us to share our story,” Cecilia said. “We appreciate and are so grateful for your support through this tough season of our lives. It is an honor to be your special guests at such a wonderful event.”
Since its start in Charlotte in 2014, Pinky Swear has helped approximately 150 North Carolina families with 200 grants for stable housing, reliable transportation, utilities, food and weekend getaways.
TTI Hoover, the owner of three of the biggest names in floor care: Hoover, Dirt Devil, and Oreck, was honored for their exceptional partnership and commitment to kids with cancer. In addition to their ongoing sponsorship of the Orange & Blue Gala and Pinky Swear Kids Triathlon in June, they have also engaged their corporate staff in a wide range of activities to support the Pinky Swear mission. TTI Hoover regularly stocks the Pinky Swear Pantry at Levine Children’s Hospital, so families can grab a quick meal and stay close to their child, and provides a monthly dinner to the inpatients and their families at Levine. During the holidays TTI Hoover donated toys, calendars and cards to kids with cancer in the Charlotte area. But it doesn’t stop there – in 2017 they donated 40 Oreck Air Purifiers to Levine and Mission Children’s Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, with even more planned for 2018. The air purifiers help reduce pollutants, dust and pollens in homes to alleviate any respiratory symptoms that the children with cancer are suffering.
Other event highlights included fine dining and cocktails by Tito’s Vodka and wine provided by Euclid Wines. Attendees bid on over 70 silent and live auction packages, including tickets to the Taylor Swift Reputation Tour with hotel accommodations for four in Atlanta, and other luxurious health and fitness, fine dining and party packages. Event photos, courtesy of Serena Apostol/Studio iDesign, are available online.
Registration for its next major fundraising event, the 4th Annual Pinky Swear Kids Triathlon on Saturday, June 2, at Ingersoll Rand in Davidson, will open on March 1, 2018 at www.pinkyswear.org/events. Over 300 Charlotte-area kids ages 6-18 will swim, bike and run in honor of kids with cancer, while raising funds to further the Pinky Swear mission.
The Pinky Swear Story
Pinky Swear Foundation was founded in honor of Mitch Chepokas, who lost his battle to bone cancer in 2003. In December 2002, 9-year-old Mitch overheard his pediatric oncology ward neighbors stressed about money for Christmas gifts, and generously decided to give away his savings of $6,000 to other kids fighting cancer. After sneaking envelopes of cash under doors and on nightstands, Mitch told his dad it was the most fun he’d ever had, and he wanted to do it again the following year. With a terminal prognosis, his dad had to tell Mitch the truth: that he wouldn’t be around the following Christmas. That’s when Mitch made his dad, Steve, ‘pinky swear promise’ to continue to help families with kids with cancer even after he was gone.
About Pinky Swear Foundation
Founded in 2003, Pinky Swear Foundation is a 501c(3) not-for-profit passionately committed to helping children with cancer and their families by responding to the immediate crisis facing families with a childhood cancer diagnosis. Pinky Swear supports families’ quality-of-life with financial assistance for basic needs and through experiences that create emotional support, so they can focus on what’s most important – their child battling cancer. Inspired by a pinky swear promise made between a 9-year-old boy and his dad, the foundation engages kids to help grow the community of keepers of the pinky swear. Pinky Swear Foundation fundraising activities include annual kids triathlon events, family 5K & fun runs, National Pinky Swear Day on December 11, and other community engagement events around the country. Learn more at www.pinkyswear.org.
Pediatric Cancer Facts
- A child is diagnosed with cancer every 45 minutes
- The average age of diagnosis is 6-years-old
- The average length of treatment is 2 years
- The average family will spend 25% of its disposable income on non-medical related expenses while their child is being treated
- One in 11 families with a child diagnosed with cancer will file for bankruptcy