Ward Melville High School alum Dave Wolmetz was once again surrounded by his heroes.

Last Thursday, Wolmetz — who co-owns Urban Air Lake Grove with his partner Keith Handler — invited the people that saved his life from Stony Brook University Cancer Center to his family entertainment facility. There, he presented the staff with a check worth $100,000.

“I’m inspired by the groundbreaking research at the Stony Brook University Cancer Center,” said Wolmetz, who began treatment of Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) in 2018 at Stony Brook University Hospital.

The South Setauket native underwent total body radiation and chemotherapy treatment at Stony Brook’s Cancer Center and is currently in the management phase of his treatment.

“I’m grateful for the stem cell transplant and excellent care I have received at the facility,” he said. “The cancer center is a well-established resource and essential to the community to focus on important cancer problems.”

The donation money hails from the Why Not Us Foundation, a nonprofit that is “dedicated to creating real and lasting change in the world by motivating, empowering and preparing today’s youth to be tomorrow’s leaders.”

The funds will benefit Stony Brook’s CAR T-cell therapy program, which supports Stony Brook scientists working on developing personalized cell therapy to treat blood cancers, such as leukemia.

The donation ceremony was timely, as it was the one-year anniversary of Wolmetz’s stem cell transplant at Stony Brook. 

“With the incredible generosity, we will be able to improve cancer care for Long Islanders and generate other CARs directed toward other major blood cancers, such as leukemia and multiple myeloma,” said Dr. Huda Salman, a hematologist at Stony Brook.

Dave Wolmetz (blue) with members of the Stony Brook University Hospital (courtesy)

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Top: Urban Air Lake Grove founders Dave Wolmetz and Keith Handler presenting the $100,000 check to Stony Brook University Hospital.