Charlie's Champions Foundation Shows Continued Support for Cancer Center for Kids


Vol. 18, No. 2
Summer 2008

  • Compassionate, Cutting-Edge Care Provides Relief to 89-Year-Old Patient

  • Winthrop Elects Three New Members to Board of Directors

  • Two Winthrop-University Hospital Physicians Top New York State Lists for Cardiac Care

  • Phyllis & Nathan J. Mistretta Emergency Diagnostic Imaging Center Dedicated at Winthrop

  • RP-7 "Virtual Doctor" Makes it's Debut at Winthrop

  • Congratulations, Top Docs!

  • A Vibrant Research Program at Winthrop

  • Pediatric Bowel Management Program Addresses Unique Needs of Children

  • International Exchange Program Tours Winthrop

  • 23rd Annual Golf Tournament Raises a Record $430,000 for Emergency Services at Winthrop

  • 11th Annual Opera Night Raises $75,000 for Child Life

  • Charlie's Champions Foundation Shows Continued Support for Cancer Center for Kids

  • Community Members Say Yes to Good Health

  • Senator Schumer Hosts Press Conference at Diabetes Education Center

  • 2nd Annual Black & White Ball Raises $300,000 for Cancer Center for Kids

  • Michael Magro Foundation Supports CCFK's School Re-entry Program

  • Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation Helps Make Wishes Come True

  • Winthrop Receives "Found Money"

  • The Miracle Foundation Makes Third Gift of $50,000 to Cancer Center for Kids

  • Swim Laps Go a Long Way in Support of Pediatrics

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    Charlie Schmitt wanted to make sure that there were enough funds from the Foundation's 10th Annual "Rage in the Cage" Tournament to purchase a Nintendo Wii System and the Guitar Hero game for patients in Winthrop's Cancer Center for Kids. The Foundation recently presented these special toys 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.
    Since March 2006, Charlie's Champions Foundation has been an ardent supporter of the Cancer Center for Kids (CCFK) and its mission to provide children with the best possible care in an environment that promotes healing. 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.

    "We have been truly 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 the Cancer Center for Kids to continue to provide many valuable programs and services."

    For Mr. and Mrs. Schmitt, the main motivation behind the creation of Charlie's Champions Foundation was a strong desire to help their family stay focused on the positive - even in the midst of the most trying times.

    "Life isn't always easy, and hardships can come anyone's way," said Mrs. Schmitt. "What's important is that we learn to deal with adversity as best we can, and Charlie's Champions Foundation is one of the ways that we have been able to do that."

    Over the past several years, Charlie's Champions Foundation has contributed more than $230,000 in support of the CCFK through numerous successful fundraisers and events. Among the Foundation's most recent events was the weekend-long "Rage in the Cage" paddle tennis tournament which began with the "Underage in the Cage" paddle clinics for children; followed by a competitive adult mixed doubles tournament that pit more than 100 registrants, including 20 nationally ranked players, against each other for a worthy cause.

    On the heels of it's most successful "Rage in the Cage" to date, Charlie's Champions hosted yet another successful event on May 31. The second annual Evening of Music and Cheer, hosted by Merry Strauss and Tara Schmitt at Adelphi's University Center, included an evening of lively entertainment, cocktails and dinner, a silent auction and raffle prizes.

    While there were many highlights of the evening, including performances by musical artists Neil Cohen, Jason Eskridge, and Oli Rockberger, and an entertaining comedic performance by Cathy Ladman whose talent has been showcased in films such as Charlie Wilson's War, one aspectof the night had a profound impact on all those in attendance. After showing an uplifting professional music video that was written and recorded by patients at the CCFK under the direction of creative arts therapist Glenn Schifano, nearly ten children from the Center performed the song live for the audience. At the conclusion of their performance, the audience erupted in applause and gave the children a standing ovation.

    "The children's performance that night was so special because it enabled all those in attendance to experience their enthusiasm and see how their donations are making a difference," said Mrs. Schmitt. "While the Foundation is dedicated to supporting cancer research, this event provided an opportunity to showcase the creative arts therapy services at the Cancer Center for Kids."

    For the Schmitt family, seeing how their son Charlie has been positively impacted by the CCFK inspires them to continue to make a difference.

    "No child wants to live in and out of a doctor's office," said Mrs. Schmitt. "We felt confident in the hands of Dr. Mark Weinblatt, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Director of the Cancer Center for Kids, and were delighted at how the Center's child life specialist, psychiatrist, social worker and creative arts therapist all took Charlie under their wings. As parents, we could see their professional input become a major part of the healing process and we are grateful to help in the healing of other children too."

    For more information about the Cancer Center for Kids, please call (516) 663-9400.



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