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Winthrop University Hospital

Department of External Affairs
Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Leanna Mauro

Publications Specialist

(516) 663-2234


Mineola, NY – Winthrop-University Hospital’s renowned Cancer Center for Kids (CCFK) recently received a generous $50,000 gift along with a Nintento Wii Game System and games from Charlie’s Champions Foundation. The Foundation was established by Garden City residents Tara and John Schmitt in the name of their son Charlie who was diagnosed with Leukemia three years ago and is currently being treated at Winthrop, and the recent gift was made possible by the Foundation’s annual “Rage in the Cage” paddle tennis tournament.

Charlie Schmitt, the 9-year-old boy for which Charlie's Champions Foundation is named, wanted to make sure that there were enough funds from the Foundation's annual "Rage in the Cage" Tennis Tournament to purchase a Nintendo Wii System and the Guitar Hero game for patients in Winthrop's Cancer Center for Kids. The Foundation recently visited the CFFK to present these gifts along with a generous gift of $50,000 in support of CCFK programs and services. Present at the donation were (back row, l.-r.) Tara Schmitt of Charlie's Champions Foundation; CCFK staff members Nancy Morreale, licensed social worker; Glenn Schifano, creative arts therapist; Linda Sweeney, practice manager; Ilene West, PhD, Child Psychologist; Stephanie Merkis, RN; and Igal Fligman, MD. Front row, with Charlie are Nicole Pearl, Certified Child Life Specialist and Mark Weinblatt, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Director of the Cancer Center for Kids.
“We have been so blessed by Charlie’s Champions Foundation’s continued kindness and generosity towards the Center,” said Linda Sweeney, practice manager at the Cancer Center for Kids. “Their support has been instrumental in enabling our staff to continue to reach out to patients’ families and provide our many valuable programs and services.”

Held on March 28 and 29 at the Cherry Valley Club in Garden City, the 10th Annual Rage in the Cage tournament was a tremendous success – pitting more than 250 registrants against each other for a good cause. The weekend started with clinics for juniors as they battled in the “Underage in the Cage” tournament; followed by an adult mixed doubles tournament. More than 250 contributors were present at the event’s evening cocktail reception to raise funds through donations, dinner tickets, raffles, gifts and more. Topping off the night, John Schmitt gave a compelling speech, reflecting on the superior quality of care available at Winthrop’s CCFK.

“When you’re shopping for a home, you check out the schools and the taxes, but you never think to check out the local healthcare,” said John Schmitt. “Little did I know that when my son became ill, I would have the best possible care right here in my own backyard.”

For more information about the Cancer Center for Kids, please call (516) 663-9400. To support Charlie’s Champions, visit

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