Two-year-old Brett Doucette had no idea the impact he would make when he was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia in 1974.
Brett’s diagnoses inspired former Milwaukee Bucks star (and current Bucks television announcer) Jon McGlocklin, whose nickname is “Jonny Mac,” to establish The MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Inc.) The MACC Fund is a nonprofit organization established to support research on effective treatments for childhood cancer and related blood disorders.
“I had a desire and a heart for it, I had visited cancer families and kids previous to Brett’s diagnosis. It was kind of an aligning of the stars in a way,” McGlocklin recalled, “Brett’s diagnosis was the final major thing that pushed me to do this.”
McGlocklin was an original member of the Bucks. He played for the team for eight seasons after being acquired during the expansion draft when the Bucks were created in 1968. McGlocklin played 11 seasons in the NBA, including the 1971 season when he was a member of the only Bucks world championship team. He has spent the last 25 seasons as a member of the Bucks broadcast team.
Despite all of his accomplishments in basketball, McGlocklin is most proud of the MACC Fund.
“Thirty years of starting it, running it and growing it – it has become a lifestyle and probably the most rewarding experience I have ever done. It has truly been blessed for us to grow it the way we have,” McGlocklin said.
The announcement for the formation of the MACC fund came appropriately on the night of McGlocklin’s jersey retirement ceremony, a precursor to the way he would live the rest of his life after his basketball career. The MACC Fund was established on Dec. 10, 1976, with McGlocklin as president and his best friend, Bucks’ radio announcer Eddie Doucette, as vice president and co-founder. Doucette’s son survived his childhood bout with cancer.
The organization’s staff has since developed into four full-time employees, including John Cary, executive director of the MACC Fund.
In 2007, the MACC fund benefited from more than 75 events and was supported by an average of 1,500 volunteers.
“Our biggest event is the Trek 100. It’s a bicycle event where people can choose between four different distances,” Cary said. “Prior to race day, the riders raise pledges for the cause.”
Over the past 18 years, the Trek 100, sponsored by Waterloo-based Trek Bicycle Corp., has raised about $6 million dollars in research funds. In 2006, the event featured professional cyclist and seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.
The Milwaukee Bucks organization is one of the longest-standing sponsors of the MACC Fund. The Milwaukee Bucks MACC Fund Game (a pre-season game) is one of the oldest events of the MACC Fund and dates back to 1977. Since the formation, the annual games have raised more than $1.2 million for research.
The MACC Fund Open golf tournament also has been in existence since 1977 and is currently sponsored by the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Milwaukee.
“The Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association is the second-longest contributor to the MACC fund,” Cary said. “Since 1978 the organization has hosted the annual WBCA All Star Games in Madison. To date, the games have raised a total of $1.4 million to research.”
Since its establishment in 1976, the MACC Fund has contributed $29 million for pediatric cancer research in the state. The MACC Fund Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin was established in 1988 and receives a large portion of its support from the MACC Fund directly.
The MACC Fund supports research at the University of Wisconsin’s Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center. With long-term commitments, the MACC Fund’s support contributions are around $34 million to childhood cancer and related hematology research.
When the MACC Fund was founded, the overall cure rate for childhood cancer was 20 percent. In its 31st year, the cure rate has advanced to almost 80 percent.
McGlocklin encourages everyone to get involved in a cause they believe in.
“It really brings out the best of people,” he said, “We have a lot of hard workers who put in a lot of time, but at the end of the day, you are doing something to save lives, it really goes into a different realm of what we do.”