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Winthrop University Hospital

Department of External Affairs
Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Carolann Martines

Associate Writer

(516) 663-2234


Present at the check presentation were (l-r) John Schmitt, Founder of Charlie’s Champions; Mark Merchant, Founder of Alta Physical Therapy and John Schmitt’s cousin; John P. Broder, Vice President of External Affairs and Development at Winthrop; Linda Sweeney, Practice Manager of the CCFK; Garry J. Schwall, MBA, RPA, Chief Operating Officer at Winthrop; Mark Weinblatt, MD, Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Director of the Cancer Center for Kids; Charlie Schmitt, for whom Charlie’s Champions is named; Warren Rosenfeld, MD, Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Winthrop; Toni McGinley, founder of Alta Physical Therapy and John Schmitt’s cousin; Ed Chewens, Assistant Vice President, Women’s and Children’s Services at Winthrop; and Tara Schmitt, Founder of Charlie’s Champions.
In support of Charlie’s Champions Foundation – created by Garden City residents Tara and John Schmitt in the name of their son, who is currently a patient at Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids (CCFK) – Alta Physical Therapy joined forces with eight cyclers to complete a 3,000 mile Race Across America, spanning from California to Maryland in just seven days, to benefit the Foundation and its mission to raise awareness and funds to benefit the CCFK. As a result of their remarkable efforts and the support of nearly 350 contributors, Charlie’s Champions Foundation presented a $75,000 donation to the CCFK, bringing the group’s total fundraising efforts to $475,000.

For Charlie’s Champion’s participants, the iconic Race Across America was more than just a competition. Friends and family – inspired by Charlie and his personal battle against pediatric cancer – joined forces under oftentimes adverse conditions to make a difference for all children fighting the disease. Their spirit reflected the belief that for kids with cancer every day is a struggle to win – to remain strong, healthy and positive.

“Charlie’s Champions’ remarkable, ongoing commitment to the Cancer Center for Kids has made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many of our patients. We are so grateful to them, to Alta Physical Therapy for sponsoring this event, and to all of those who supported this cause,” said Linda Sweeney, Practice Manager of the CCFK.

Winthrop-University Hospital together with its affiliated practitioners have collaborated to create the Cancer Center for Kids. The Cancer Center for Kids’ services are provided by both the Hospital and Pediatric Hematologists/Oncologists affiliated with Winthrop Pediatric Associates, P.C. (“WPA”) who utilize both the state-of-the-science facilities of the Hospital and WPA’s new outpatient practice.

Diagnosing and treating the range of cancers and blood disorders in children is the focus of specialists in Winthrop's Cancer Center for Kids. Staffed by pediatric hematologists/ oncologists with decades of experience, the Center is a unique regional resource that caters to children's medical needs and also addresses the psychosocial issues they and their families face.

For more information about the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop-University Hospital, visit the Center’s website at, or call Linda Sweeney at (516) 663-9400.

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