The MACC Fund’s 30th Birthday Party on Thursday, October 26 at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee celebrated “30 Years of Hope” for childhood cancer and related blood disorders. Board Members Jan Lennon and Al Costigan were the Party’s Co-Chairs while Regis Welsh and Mike Houser were the Honorary Co-Chairs having chaired the MACC Fund’s 10th and 25th anniversaries respectively.
A reception in the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee’s Atrium including music by “Streetlife featuring Warren Wiegratz” started the night. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee offered words of welcome and an invocation. The Archbishop is a regular visitor to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin HOT (Hematology, Oncology, Transplant) Unit where children are treated for cancer and related blood disorders such as aplastic anemia and sickle cell disease. His niece Shannon was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 9. Shannon is now driving and giving speeches in her hometown of St. Louis encouraging support for groups like the MACC Fund. “Payback time” she proudly told her equally proud “Uncle Tim.” The Hyatt’s sumptuous dinner was topped off with the party guests eating the centerpiece – a scrumptious birthday cake – topped with three candles symbolizing three decades of hope through research. Jim Paschke, longtime MACC Fund Honorary Board Member and voice of the Milwaukee Bucks on television was the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.
The Party was dedicated to the “Heroes and the Stars” – the researchers, doctors, nurses and support staffs as well as those who are fighting cancer, those who survived it and those who fought the good fight against it. The Party’s guests decided who the Heroes and the Stars were since both were interchangeable terms fitting for each. The program was inspirational as representatives from ages of 6 to 43 who were diagnosed in each of the 30 years of the MACC Fund were invited to the stage by Doctors Bruce Camitta and Jim Casper of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Midwest Children’s Cancer Center and Dr. Ken DeSantes of the University of Wisconsin’s Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center. Parents represented six children of the 30 years who died, symbolically showing the current 80 percent overall cure rate for childhood cancer. A generous donation by the MGS Manufacturing Group underwrote the expenses of the nearly 100 guests who represented the 30 years. The emotional evening concluded with the performance of “See Them” – a tribute to the fighters, survivors and victims – written and performed by Matt Wessel who was joined by his sister Beth.
Bill Steinberg, Chairman of the MACC Fund’s Board of Directors, announced its inaugural “MACC Fund Founder’s Award” which will be presented to the Milwaukee Bucks during a regular season game. The Bucks played an integral role in the development of the MACC Fund since the organization participated in its creation on the floor of the Milwaukee Arena during an NBA game which also featured the retirement of the number 14 jersey that Jon McGlocklin wore before he helped create the MACC Fund with Bucks announcer Eddie Doucette. The Bucks recently held their 30th Annual Bucks MACC Game against the Denver Nuggets. The 30 Bucks MACC Fund Games have raised $1.2 million. The relationship between the Bucks and the MACC Fund is one of the longest standing relationships in professional sports.
The 30th Birthday Party also celebrated the MACC Fund’s important role in supporting research by helping to raise the overall childhood cancer cure rate from 20% to 80% through its contributions of $27 million to research for cancer and related blood disorders over the past 30 years. Taking into consideration long term commitments made by the Board in 2006 to its beneficiaries, the Fund’s support actually tops $31 million! The MACC Fund is fortunate to being able to support two world renowned cancer centers – the Midwest Children’s Cancer Center with research conduced in the 6-story MACC Fund Research Center of the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin’s Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center in Madison. Upon completion, the research will be conducted in the Interdisciplinary Research Center’s MACC Fund Pediatric Cancer Research Wing.
It was a night to remember and certainly one that will fill prominent chapter in the wonderful MACC Fund story.
John M. Cary
Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer, Inc.
10000 Innovation Dr. #135
Milwaukee, WI 53226
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