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Present at the recent donation by Charlie’s Champions Foundation at Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids were (l.-r.) Nancy Morreale, Licensed Clinical Social Worker; Tara Schmitt, President of Charlie’s Champions Foundation; Glenn Schifano, LCAT, MT-BC, CCLS, Music Therapist at the Cancer Center for Kids; and Kim Krupka, Certified Child Life Specialist.
Dressed in her Halloween best, Tara Schmitt, President of Charlie’s Champions Foundation, recently made a surprise visit to the Cancer Center for Kids (CCFK) at Winthrop-University Hospital bearing a very special treat – a check in the amount of $35,000, representing a $10,000 sponsorship for the CCFK’s Rock2Beat Pediatric Cancer event and a $25,000 gift to help underwrite the Center’s psychosocial programs.

“The Center has taken Charlie and our family through the most difficult of times. For this we are grateful and passionate about creating ways to continue funding this uniquely nurturing place,” said Mrs. Schmitt as she described how she and her husband, John, created Charlie’s Champions Foundation to honor their now 13-year old son, Charlie, a cancer survivor who was treated for leukemia at the Cancer Center for Kids.

At the same time, the Foundation has forged a noble mission: raising awareness and funds to benefit the CCFK at Winthrop, Nassau County’s largest outpatient facility for treating children with cancer and blood disorders. As a collaborative partner in the National Cancer Institute’s Children’s Oncology Group – an international consortium of hospitals recognized as leaders in the treatment of childhood cancers – the CCFK administers and coordinates research studies, disseminates clinical trials information, and manages protocols. The Center has established comprehensive psychosocial programs, co-facilitated by a licensed social worker, certified child life specialist, psychologist and music therapist, to enable children and their families to better cope with the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric cancer. Many of the CCFK’s psychosocial programs are offered free to patients and their families. Since these services are not reimbursed by insurance or third party provider funds, support from private donations by groups and individuals is vital.

The Schmitts shared the challenges of Charlie’s illness with friends and neighbors and thanks to their generosity and support from the Long Island community, the Foundation has raised more than $527,000 to benefit pediatric patients at the CCFK.

For the past several years, Charlie’s Champions Foundation events like the now legendary Rage in the Cage, A Race Across America, the Ironman endurance marathon, the Golf Outing, Night of Rhythm & Blues and A Night of Music & Cheer have attracted thousands of youngsters, parents, neighbors, and friends to support the Foundation’s mission.

Charlie’s father, John, has said that he is overwhelmed by the outpouring of individual and corporate support the Foundation continues to receive.

“I am humbled by their generosity. Contributions to Charlie’s Champions Foundation bring tangible help to the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop and to the children who are treated there each and every day. The amazing thing is that this remarkable care is right here in our own backyard,” said Mr. Schmitt.

Helping to meet the complex issues of pediatric cancer energizes Charlie’s Champions Foundation and interlocks with the CCFK’s own spirit and dedication to fostering hope and healing among young cancer patients and their families. Charlie’s Champions Foundation is already planning another year of unforgettable programs and activities. To learn more about Charlie’s Champions Foundation, visit

For more information about the Cancer Center for Kids at Winthrop, visit or call (516) 663-9400.

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