My Son, My Hero

Hero

Hero

I would like to introduce you to a brave and inspirational young man, my son, Matthew.  He was just 13 years old, but he made more of an impact in his 13 years here on this Earth than most people make in a full lifetime.

Matthew was “all boy”.  He loved spending time with his family and friends and playing video games.  He excelled in school, was active on Student Council, and played the trumpet in his school’s band and jazz band.  Then, on March 13, 2012, our world was turned upside down when Matthew was diagnosed with ETP-ALL leukemia.

Our family was thrust into another world, one where terms like hemoglobin, blast cells, platelets, and ANC were common in our everyday language.  We had to learn to live with a “new normal”.  We were told that Matthew’s form of leukemia was a more aggressive and rare type of cancer, requiring a bone marrow transplant once the cancer cells were under control.

He underwent chemotherapy and radiation.  A horrific and unimaginable experience, especially for a child.

Once Matthew got to bone marrow transplant things became progressively worse.  He suffered from stage 4 graft vs. host disease and just about every complication that can be had from a bone marrow transplant.  He was placed on a ventilator three times and had large, painful blisters over the majority of his body.

Bravery isn't judged by the size of the person, but by the size of his heart.

Bravery isn’t judged by the size of the person, but by the size of his heart.

Through it all, Matthew remained strong and positive in his attitude.  He never once asked “why me” or questioned what was happening.  He was always polite, thanking the nurses and the doctors who were helping him in his treatments.  He even prayed for other children who were going through treatments and transplant just like he was.

As a parent, my heart was breaking.  No child should ever have to go through radiation or chemotherapy.  No child should ever be exposed to the type of situation that my son and many other children must face every day.  Yet, Matthew helped me to be strong, to have faith, and to always find the good in things. Even as his physical condition was getting worse, he always had a smile on his face and love to give.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, September 23, 2012, Matthew went from his Mother’s arms into the arms of Jesus.  His courageous battle was finished.The lives that Matthew touched will never be the same.  He taught us to laugh through the tears, to be strong when you feel there is no strength left, to be brave when inside you are shaking with fear, and to put your trust in things unseen.

I miss the laughter, the smiles, and the happiness that once filled my life.  A precious young man is gone to Heaven, but not forgotten.

The other day I saw a photo in support of childhood cancer awareness…it says, “Some people never get to meet their hero.  I gave birth to mine.”  Those words have never been more true…

We miss you.

We miss you.

Happy Anniversary!

Excerpted from an email of Jan Lennon, Secretary of the Board:

Hello, Fellow Travelers, 

On behalf of Bill Steinberg, it is my honor and privilege as Secretary to remind everyone that John Cary is celebrating his 30th anniversary as Executive Director of the MACC Fund on February 15, 2012.  John’s longevity and devotion to the MACC Fund mission and his constancy of service to families struggling with a diagnosis of childhood cancer have made a world of difference to countless people. It would be nice, if you have the time, to recognize this special anniversary. Thank you. 
 
~Jan

***

We agree. Happy 30th Anniversary, John! Thank you for everything that you have done to help our kids!

with gratitude and hope,

~The MACC Fund Staff

John Cary-Thanks for 30 years!

Congratulations to MVP Aaron Rodgers

Congratulations to Aaron Rodgers for winning the National Football League’s MVP title!  Well deserved is an understatement as Aaron’s impressive season clearly points out.  The 48 of 50 voters who cast first place votes affirmed what the MACC Fund has known for the past two years.  Aaron is an MVP.  Two years ago in May at the start of the inaugural “An Evening With Aaron Rodgers,” Aaron said that he was “In it for the long haul.”  The “it” referred to the MACC Fund.  His statement was met with thunderous applause from the sellout crowd. Aaron has been true to his word and everyone associated with the MACC Fund, especially the children, are grateful.  The Third Annual “An Evening With Aaron Rodgers” which will be presented on May 22 in the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee’s Grand Ballroom by his fine management team from RBSH Enterprises is virtually sold out even though it is over three months away. 

Consistency is an important trait for any successful person, no matter what the field.  On the football field, Aaron’s consistency clearly stood out.  One need only look at his 45 touchdown to 6 interception ratio to see that. Packers’ fans remember that two of those interceptions could have easily been completions as well.  His consistency is also readily apparent off the field and the MACC Fund has been the grateful recipient of Aaron’s consistency. 

Aaron has indeed been “in it for the long haul” and lots of children battling cancer and blood disorders want to “high five” him for it.  Their visits to the Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Clinics at the outstanding Children’s Hospitals in Milwaukee and Madison offer a moment to look at a Packers’ helmet which Aaron autographed for each clinic.  They also can smile when they look at the autographed and personalized picture with his newfound friend Mickey Mouse taken during his whirlwind visit to Mickey’s home in Florida the day after he was named MVP in Super Bowl XLV last year.  Children treated in the Clinics, their families and dedicated caregivers say they take solace in knowing that Aaron Rodgers is on the MACC Fund team that is giving “Hope Through Research.” 

Lots of children helped by the MACC Fund also have autographed pictures with personalized notes from Aaron encouraging them.  Consistency is one of the hallmarks of a champion.  Aaron Rodgers is a champion with the MACC Fund for kids battling cancer and blood disorders.  Now he is the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.  He has been a MACC Fund MVP for the past two years during which he has played an important role in helping to raise over $400,000 for life-saving research.  Everyone associated with the MACC Fund – especially the children and their families – are glad that Aaron Rodgers is “in it for the long haul.”  Congratulations on another MVP title, Aaron.  It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.           

John Cary, Executive Director

                                                                

MACC Fund Friend Mark Wilson Wins Fifth PGA Tour Title

Menomonee Falls native Mark Wilson won his fifth PGA Tour title on Sunday as dusk shrouded the course in La Quinta,California.  It was his third title in 13 months, a feat shared only by fellow Wisconsinite Steve Stricker.  Mark’s win moved him into second place in the FedEx Cup points standings, just ahead of Stricker and third on the Tour’s money list, just behind Stricker.

Some members of the golf world are asking the question “Is Mark Wilson the most underrated golfer on the Tour?”  We will let that debate to the folks who know what they are talking about, but in the eyes of the MACC Fund, he is our favorite player on the Tour – for good reason.  One of the first things that Mark did when he joined the Tour in 2004 was to create a program with his friend and then marketing/business manager, Eddie Erkmanis, called “Making a Mark Fore MACC.” 

A mathematics major at the University of North Carolina where he was an All-American and won the Ben Hogan Award for the sport’s top student athlete in 1997, Mark and his wife Amy have donated $220,000 to the MACC Fund through this program.  They give a donation for every “cut” he makes and more for every Top 10, 20 and 30 finish.  Their gifts have ranged from $5,000 in 2004 to $40,000 in 2011, his record year on the Tour where he won two tournaments and had three Top 10 finishes.  Mark and Amy have given more to the MACC Fund than any other athlete in the MACC Fund’s 35-year history.

It is easy to see why he is the MACC Fund’s favorite on Tour and a valued member of the MACC Fund’s Honorary Athletic Board.  In addition to his great program, he is also the Honorary Chairman of the Lake Country Charity Invitational featuring many of the area’s finest high school teams.  Sponsored by Hartland’sArrowheadHigh Schoolunder the watchful eye of tournament director Tom Tallmadge, the school’s legendary former golf coach, the Invitational will be played atErinHillson April 28.ErinHillshosted the U.S. Men’s Amateur in 2011 and will host the U.S. Open in 2017.  Despite a busy Tour schedule, Mark always makes time to play a round in the summer with some of the Invitational’s top fund-raising teams never forgetting his days as a high school golfer for Wisconsin Lutheran High School where he was a state champion as a freshman.

Congratulations and thanks to Mark and Amy and your great family.  Thanks for taking the MACC Fund along on the Tour and thanks for your “Gift of Hope through Golf.”

John Cary, Executive Director  

     

Coach Petitgoue, a great MACC Fund friend, goes for #800

Greatness comes in many shapes and sizes.  In the case of Jerry Petitgoue, greatness is manifested in many ways as a husband, father, teacher, coach and through his incredible commitment to the MACC Fund as Executive Director of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).  Jerry has played an important role in helping the impressive organization donate $1.8 million to the MACC Fund through its annual Boys and Girls All-Star Games each year dating back to 1978.  Next to the Milwaukee Bucks who played an integral role in starting the MACC Fund 35 years ago on the retirement night of Jon McGlocklin, the “Original Buck,” the WBCA is the longest standing MACC Fund sponsor.

Greatness is oftentimes measured by wins and losses in sports.  In the case of Jerry Petitgoue, you can  easily measure his greatness in this way. Tonight his Cuba City basketball team will take the court in their holiday tournament against River Ridge (Illinois) High School.  Every coach will tell you that every game is important.  Secretly, they will tell you that some are special.  Tonight’s Cuba City game is one of those games.  A victory will mean that Jerry will have coached his 800th win in his 44 years as a head high school varsity coach in Wisconsin.  Forty of those years have been at Cuba    City which he helped make into a perennial powerhouse.  The “winningest” coach in state high school history, Jerry has a record of 799-199.  Tomorrow night’s holiday tournament game will be his 1,000 game as a head varsity coach.

The MACC Fund has many friends whose commitment to helping the children is inspirational.  Some of them are legendary in their career accomplishments as well.  Jerry Petitgoue is one of those. Watching his team win his 799th game on Monday against a fine Sheboygan Lutheran team was thrilling.  You can rest assured that there will be lots of children helped by the MACC Fund – thanks to its friends like Jerry Petitgoue and the WBCA – who will be there in spirit tonight along with the extended MACC Fund family as Cuba City goes for #800 for Coach Petitgoue.

Good luck Coach! And “Thanks a Million” to you and the other fine WBCA members for the “Gift of Hope Through High School Hoops” to the MACC Fund.

John Cary, Executive Director

35th Annual Bucks MACC Fund Game – A tradition that keeps on giving

 

Tonight is a special night.  It is the 35th Annual Bucks MACC Fund Game tonight as the Bucks take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at the BradleyCenter in the Bucks only preseason home game. The previous 34 games have raised $1.3 million for the MACC Fund’s fight against childhood cancer and blood disorders.

Many know that the MACC Fund started during a Bucks game 35 years ago when Jon McGlocklin’s number was retired.  Jon and his good friend and Bucks broadcaster, Eddie Doucette, teamed up to help kids like Karen and Eddie’s son Brett who was diagnosed with leukemia as a two-year-old.  Since then, Brett became the MACC Fund’s first “success story,” is married and lives in Arizona.  In addition, the MACC Fund has contributed $41 million to pediatric cancer and blood disorder research in Wisconsin offering Hope for children with cancer throughout the country and the world. The MACC Fund has played an important role in helping the overall cure rate for childhood cancer to rise from 20% to 80% in the past 35 years. 

The Bucks have been with the MACC Fund every step of the way and events like the Bucks MACC Fund Game have contributed to that impressive cure rate success. Once again this year, the Bucks have donated hundreds of tickets to the game for the children, their families, caregivers and dedicated MACC Fund volunteers.

The Bucks always give the children helped by the MACC Fund a chance to be part of the fun. Ten-year-old Jack Bartosz and his twin sister Annie will present the game ball. Jack designed the TODAY’S TMJ4 MACC*Star.  He has battled cancer for more than half of his life. Ten children helped by the MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin will line up with each starting player.  They will get a signed ball from that player as a great memento of a great night.  Imagine how excited they are!   

Some of these children got to meet the Bucks during the team’s annual visit to Children’s Hospital and the MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders on Monday.  Despite the abbreviated preseason, Coach Scott Skiles wanted to make sure this great holiday tradition continued proving once again the commitment the Bucks have to helping the MACC Fund help kids.  As I said, the Bucks have been with the MACC Fund every step of the way.

Don’t forget, value-priced tickets will be available until Tip Off.  We hope to see you there.  

Thanks for helping the MACC Fund help kids battling cancer and blood disorders.

Happy Holidays and Go Bucks!

John Cary, Executive Director

Happy 35th Birthday MACC Fund!

Thanks to the support of ten of thousands of people, the MACC Fund is celebrating its 35th Birthday today. Birthdays are important to kids battling cancer and blood disorders. They are to the MACC Fund too, although we dream of the day when we won’t need to have another year.

We invite our friends in the Milwaukee television market to join with our wonderful friends from TODAY’S TMJ4 from 7 – 9 p.m. tonight as we celebrate the TODAY’S TMJ4 Sports Auction 4 MACC. This is the 31st consecutive year of live broadcast specials from the great folks at TODAY’S TMJ4. This is virtually unpredented in the Milwaukee market and likely around the country as well. Thanks TODAY’S TMJ4 and the generous Journal Broadcast Group. This is also the 30th consecutive year that Sargento Foods of Plymouth, Wis. is a generous MACC Fund broadcast sponsor.  Special thanks as well to Sargento.

Tonight’s show will end at about the same time the MACC Fund was beginning 35 years earlier. That “tip-off” ceremony in 1976 took place on the Milwaukee Arena floor honoring the retirement of Jon McGlocklin from the Milwaukee Bucks.  Jon and his dear friend and Bucks broadcaster Eddie Doucette co-founded the MACC Fund to help children like Eddie and Karen Doucette’s son Brett who was battling leukemia.  Thanks to Jon and Eddie and their wonderful wives Pam and Karen for daring to dream.  The MACC Fund’s first “success story,” Brett Doucette, is now married and works for a Children’s Hospital in Arizona.  The Bucks have been a steadfast partner under the generous ownership of Jim Fitzgerald until 1985 and Senator Herb Kohl ever since then.  Bucks Vice President John Steinmiller has been a MACC Fund standard bearer from Day One. 

The 35th annual Bucks MACC Fund Game will be Wed. Dec. 21 at the Bradley Center at 7 p.m. vs the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Visit www.bucks.com for tickets. Go Bucks and Thanks Bucks!

We hope you will join us tonight on TODAY’S TMJ4 from 7 – 9 p.m. as we celebrate a “Gift of Hope” which has generated over $40 million of research contributions in Wisconsin playing an important role in helping to raise the overall global cure rate for childhood cancer from 20% to 80% during the 35-year life of the MACC Fund.    

Please consider making your Gift of Hope at www.maccfund.org

Thanks for caring for children with cancer and blood disorders and thanks for helping the MACC Fund help kids for the past 35 years.

Gratefully,

John Cary, Executive Director

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