New Hope 12-year-old is a keeper of the pinky swear
By Sue Webber
No one is better at being a keeper of the pinky swear than Grant Altman.
At just 12 years of age, the New Hope boy has become a champion fundraiser to help keep the Miracles of Mitch alive and thriving.
For his selfless efforts, Grant was given a Good Citizenship Award at the Feb. 25 New Hope City Council meeting.
“Aren’t we lucky to have kids like that in our community?” Mayor Kathi Hemken said.
Grant told the council about Mitch Chepokas, a 9-year-old Chanhassen boy who died of bone cancer in 2003. Before Mitch died, he asked his dad to “pinky swear” that he would use Mitch’s savings and raise additional money to found an organization that would provide support to kids with cancer and their families.
The result, Grant said, has been an ongoing campaign for The Miracles of Mitch Foundation, which includes a Miracle Kids Triathlon in August. Older kids swim 200 yards, run a mile and bike for six miles; younger kids do half those amounts, he said.
A “kids serving kids” effort raised $600,000 last year.
Grant, a sixth-grader at Minnetonka Middle School East, got involved a couple of years ago, he said.
“I have grown as an individual and as a member of the community,” he said.
His personal goal was to raise $2,000 last year, but Grant exceeded that goal by $1,000. He raised $500 in one day alone at the New Hope Farmer’s Market, he said.
He typically begins his campaign by sending an email, Grant said. Once his yearly campaign to raise funds formally begins in June, he goes door to door every single day for an hour. This year, he says, “I’m going to go bigger.”
He’ll have help with ideas and strategies, as he has in the past, from his parents, Andrew and Jill Altman, his 7-year-old sister Jada and his grandparents.
Grant’s 2012 kick-off began spontaneously at last week’s city council meeting, where an unusually large standing-room-only audience was on hand for a police commendations ceremony.
And he didn’t just slip away after receiving his award. Grant and Jada distributed Miracles of Mitch Foundation brochures in a lobby packed with people, some of whom expressed support for his heartfelt presentation by pressing $1 and $5 donations into his hands.
Even in the flush of receiving a city council commendation and applause from an admiring crowd, Grant never lost sight of his purpose. As he was being interviewed, he said, “Could we slip something into the story telling people how they can contribute?”
For information about donating to Grant Altman’s fundraising effort, go to miraclesofmitch.org.