When sweet-shooting guard and former NBA champion Jon McGlocklin announced at his retirement ceremony during halftime at the Milwaukee Bucks game on December 10, 1976, that he was taking his talents into the broadcast booth, his fans were not surprised. But he also revealed that he was turning his attention to a new opponent: childhood cancer.
McGlocklin shared with fans that he and Eddie Doucette, the original radio voice of the Bucks, were teaming up to create a charity called the Milwaukee Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC) Fund. The "M" in MACC Fund was expanded to "Midwest" in 1978.
"Eddie was the first person I met when I arrived in Milwaukee, and we became good friends," says McGlocklin. "When Eddie's son, Brett, was diagnosed with leukemia in 1975, Eddie became passionate about finding a way to help local kids suffering like Brett, and he inspired me to do everything I could as well."
Since its inception, the MACC Fund has been an important partner of the Medical College of Wisconsin to support pediatric cancers and blood disorder research. Beginning in 1977, McGlocklin and Doucette began to raise awareness during radio and television coverage of Bucks games of the need for funding to support research on childhood cancer. Then the team became the MACC Fund's first major sponsor.
"Without the Milwaukee Bucks, the MACC Fund would not be what it is today," adds McGlocklin.
The MACC Fund has had remarkable fundraising success, passing the $60 million mark in July 2017. Of this, nearly $43 million have been used to support research at MCW.
"We've forged a strong team, and MCW has always been a phenomenal partner," says McGlocklin. "What started more than 40 years ago is now being carried forward in partnership with MCW president Dr. John Raymond, Dr. David Margolis and a talented team of physicians and scientists that has grown by leaps and bounds since day one."
In January 2016, Jeffrey Medin, PhD, joined MCW as MACC Fund Professor and vice chair of research innovation for the department of pediatrics, as well as research director within the section of pediatric hematology/oncology. Dr. Medin has a distinguished record of accomplishment in the field of pediatric cancers, and his laboratory currently focuses on the development and implementation of gene therapy.
"One thing that has always impressed me is how deep-rooted the MACC Fund is in the community. We are so grateful for that community support, and it inspires us to solve hard problems and help sick children," Dr. Medin shares.
"The MACC Fund's story tells you a lot about the people of the Midwest and especially of Wisconsin and southeastern Wisconsin. We've raised most of the money here because of the remarkable support and generosity of the community. And because it goes to research, the discoveries and advancements help kids everywhere," comments McGlocklin.
The overall cure rate for childhood cancer has risen from 20 percent to 80 percent during the more than 40-year history of the MACC Fund. In addition to its goal of expanding cures to the remaining 20 percent, the MACC Fund recognizes that even the 80 percent of children cured can relapse and have "late effect" issues which require more research.
John Cary, executive director of the MACC Fund, says, "Research has played a big part in the dramatic improvement to the cure rate, and we're pleased about the role the MACC Fund has played in this success. However, the donors, scientists, doctors, kids and their families are the greatest heroes in the struggle against childhood cancer."
MCW undertakes scientific research at the six-story MACC Fund Research Center on the Milwaukee campus. Translational, clinical-based research is conducted by MCW faculty in the MACC Fund Center of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.
– Greg Calhoun
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