Madison, Wis. — One has been called the “dream team” that is changing the landscape of pediatric cancer research. The other has been called the best team in Wisconsin men’s basketball history.
Both teams – and the children they serve – came together on Thursday, Oct. 10 to celebrate the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Fund (MACC Fund) donation of $10 million to American Family Children’s Hospital and the UW Carbone Cancer Center to accelerate pioneering research in childhood cancer.
Members of the 2014 and 2015 Final Four Wisconsin men’s basketball team, including Ben Brust and Zak Showalter and others, shot hoops with patients and the hospital’s cancer dream team. They played a game of M-A-C-C (think H-O-R-S-E) with the kids and doctors.
Jon McGlocklin, a former Milwaukee Bucks all-star and world champion, co-founded the MACC Fund and was in Madison to celebrate the donation and shoot hoops. He currently is the color analyst on Fox Sports Wisconsin for the Bucks.
This philanthropic gift ($2 million per year for the next five years) creates the UW MACC Fund Childhood Cancer Research Acceleration Initiative. The MACC Fund has provided annual grants and frequent donations to American Family Children’s Hospital, but this is their largest donation to the hospital.
UW’s pediatric cancer program, part of the prestigious North American St. Baldrick’s / Stand Up 2 Cancer Dream Team, is pushing ahead to develop safer and more effective cancer treatments for children, through innovative clinical trials and applied immunotherapies. Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment using the immune system to help fight cancer. It decreases the use or dose of chemotherapy and/ or radiation.
The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center and American Family Children’s Hospital dream team members are: Drs. Paul Sondel, Ken DeSantes, Mario Otto, Inga Hofman and Christian Capitini. All are pediatric cancer physicians researchers.
“This money will provide critical funding to accelerate our research. Over the next five years, we will be able to do more to save more children’s lives in Wisconsin and beyond,” said Dr. Sondel. “In the 43 years since the MACC Fund was established, the overall cure rate for childhood cancer has gone from 20 percent to about 80 percent. This grant will allow our pediatric oncology program to continue to be one of the best in the world as we research the wide array of immunotherapies for cancer.”
The MACC Fund was founded in 1976 with the specific goal of improving the treatment of childhood cancer. To date, it has given approximately $65 million for cancer research.