Sometimes it takes more than one village.
To support Charlie’s Champions – a foundation created by Tara and John Schmitt in the name of their son, Charlie, who is currently a patient at Winthrop-University Hospital’s Cancer Center for Kids (CCFK) – almost 300 people including Garden City residents and their friends and family from Manhattan, Manhasset and points east participated in the Foundation’s legendary “Rage in the Cage” paddle tennis tournament.
During the weekend of March 21, the Herculean efforts of Charlie’s Champions Foundation friends and supporters raised close to $70,000 to benefit the music therapy program and the research program at Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids. This two-day expression of community spirit featured a junior paddle play competition (“Underage in the Cage”) Friday evening, bustling with 125 young boys and girls, and an adult version of the “Rage” with 60 nationally ranked and novice mixed doubles teams competing Saturday.
When all was said and done, Alex Bancila/Michelle Griffith defeated Mark Ruppert/Liz Jaffe in a well-played three setter in the adult “A” competition and Dan Englander/Aileen Pappas were victorious over Kevin and Eileen Dillon in the “B” competition.
The event culminated with its signature tent party featuring CCFK music therapist Glenn Schifano and His Boy Elroy Band, accompanied by Charlie Schmitt on percussion, guest rocker Bobby Menges on guitar and songstress/CCFK staffer Krista Cirillo who provided awesome musical accompaniment.
“The music therapy program at CCFK uses the extraordinary power of music to diminish stress and relieve pain. It truly is transformative,” affirmed Schifano.
The highlight of the event came when John Schmitt took the stage, and looking out over the assembled crowd of families, players, sponsors, fans and friends, conveyed his family’s heartfelt thanks for the magnificent outpouring of support. “We are truly humbled by your generosity,” he said. “As you can see, your contributions to Charlie’s Champions really do make a difference. Your gifts bring tangible help to the Cancer Center for Kids and to the children who are treated there each and every day. The amazing thing is this remarkable care is right here in our own backyard.”
The Cancer Center for Kids is part of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Winthrop-University Hospital. You can learn more about Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids at www.winthrop.org/cck. To see more pictures of “Rage in the Cage” 2009, visit the Charlie’s Champions website at www.charlieschampions.com. Charlie’s Champions is grateful to the following sponsors, donors and friends who generously provided their participation and support:
Gold and Silver Sponsors
Dennis and Norma Tslentis
Neal and Peggy Griffin
The Andy Foundation
National Land Tenure
The Haeffner Family
Lane Furniture – The Burke Family
The Cassaro Family
Bob Considine—Paddle Pro
The Dehler Family
The Dillemeier Family
Hallen Construction – The Poole Family
The Reddington Family
IDP Consulting – The Sperry Family
Tim and Jen Schmitt
The Thornton Family
Food and Special Services
Garden City Pizza
Marty Dehler, Jr.
The Reddington Family
The Schmitt Family
Cancer Center for Kids Volunteers:
Glenn Schifano & His Boy Elroy
The Cherry Valley Country Club
Congratulations to tournament winners and organizers:
Alex Bancila and Michelle Griffith
Dan Englander and Aileen Pappas
“TJ the DJ”