I oftentimes comment on how lucky we are as a staff to work with “people at their best.” What I mean by this is that the MACC Fund’s unique primary style of fund-raising, special events – we get about 75% of our annual $3 million income from them – draws people together with special interests with the intention of helping kids.
They might like to ride a bike whether indoors or outdoors in Ridin’ for Research or the TREK 100, golf on the MACC Fund Golf Tour, play basketball with the Brookfield Jaycees, watch the WBCA All-Star Game, listen to the Bob & Brian Radiothon on THE HOG, attend the annual Milwaukee Bucks MACC Fund Game, join Women for MACC at Pasta Fest, “Shoot for a Cure and “Couture for a Cure,” cheer for Brewers Doubles sponsored by West Bend Mutual Insurance and Bucks three-pointers sponsored by Miller/Coors, join Aaron Rodgers in helping the kids, bid on auction items in the TODAY’S TMJ4 Sports Auction 4 MACC, enjoy the 25th annual Candy Cane Lane in West Allis, break a board with JK Lee at the Board Break-A-Thon, check out the new cars at the ADAMM Auto Show Gala the night before, go skiing with UW’s Theta Chi fraternity, cheer on the Milwaukee Wave at the Wave MACC Fund Game, get their hair “buzzed” like the kids at Shorewood High and Whitefish Bay High, cheer for the Firefighters and the Police in the Battle of the Badges with the Milwaukee Admirals, Pull a Plane with Bob and Brian, Frontier Airlines and Laacke & Joys, buy an holiday tradition MACC*Star ornament designed by 7-year-old Emilie who likes to smile, purchase a special Real Food magazine from the Balistreri Sendik’s Markets, purchase Pepsi in the holiday season, or simply take the time to think about a child. We see them at their best – all the time. We are pretty lucky, and we know it.
Yes, we get to meet lots of great people with a common interest of helping the MACC Fund help a child with cancer or a blood disorder. Sometimes we get to meet the kids themselves which is a special gift. Sometimes they become friends. Sometimes those friends become very special friends. Sometimes we get invited to their birthday parties or their graduation parties, their weddings and even their baby’s christenings. Sometimes they die and we attend their funeral struggling to try to find the words that do not exist to console their grieving parents who somehow find the strength to thank us. Sometimes they ask us to be pall bearers. Sometimes we have the privilege of giving their eulogy.
Sometimes we get to meet children who want to help other children and sometimes those children have cancer themselves. That was the case recently when 4-year-old Masyn came into the office with his mom. They drove down from Fond du Lac just to give us money from his fourth birthday. Masyn asked for money for the MACC Fund instead of presents for himself. Four-years-old and he has already learned one of the secrets to a happy life – caring for others. Ignatius called it “Cura Personalis.” Marquette University displays it from banners which adorn its campus. Masyn just did it to help other kids – kids like him. Kids who have cancer. (I never get used to that, even after nearly 29 years in this great job.) He proudly gave us a container filled with $265! He had a big smile and quickly took over the office as his mom quietly told Donna and Becky all that he had been through even though he just turned 4.
Our reception area features leather seats. Not just any leather seats but “loved” leather seats from a Midwest Airlines jet of days gone by, the older sibling of the Frontier Airlines jet we “pulled” last month. Masyn and I sat in those seats and he told me about his trip on an airplane to Disneyworld. His eyes got bigger and bigger as he told the staff which gathered about meeting Mickey and even Donald Duck! “No way,” I said, and he proudly said “Yah!” with the conviction and energy of an umpire calling a third strike. We talked about “Lightning McQueen” from “Cars” and his other favorites “Handy Manny” and “Thomas” and “Chuggington.” We even sang the Chuggington theme song. I knew it and all of his other favorite shows since I am lucky enough to have a 4-year-old grandson named Ben. I told Masyn about Ben and his sister Audrey and their cousins Charlie and baby Lucy as I fought back tears, the same ones which blur my vision now, as I think of the 4 years Ben has had – thank God – free of cancer and other serious illnesses. We can’t say the same about Masyn, but we can say he is cancer-free for the past 11 months. He is working on 12 months, a full year, 25% of his life, right now.
Four-years-old and caring about others more than himself. Some people live a lifetime without learning that lesson; but not the people who care about the kids who help the MACC Fund. Like I said, the MACC Fund is lucky to see “people at their best.” People of all shapes, sizes, colors – and ages too – like our new little buddy, Masyn who turned his 4th birthday into a real celebration of life! I bet Mickey and Donald are still smiling from meeting him after his airplane ride. We are. Thanks Masyn. You taught us a lot. We look forward to learning more each year.
~John Cary – Executive Director
Filed under: Notes of Hope |