What We Do
In our area, the average family of a child with cancer or a life-threatening blood disorder experiences a 40% drop in their income in the first year following a diagnosis. Childhood cancer treatments along with those for children with blood disorders, are very lengthy and aggressive. Parents must provide extensive care for the child or teen and drive to frequent appointments for tests and treatments. Loss of income, combined with greatly increased medical and travel expenses, lead to serious financial hardship for many families.
We provide direct emergency assistance to needy families for help with transportation and basic living expenses. Working on referrals from social workers, we provide assistance with household and travel expenses that, if left unmet, might compromise the health and safety of the critically ill child. In particular, we aid families of children on acute treatment with their utility bills, phone bills, rent/mortgage, car payments, car repairs, gas and groceries. This program constitutes the greatest part of our annual budget.
Each fall we match some of our neediest patient families of a child on treatment, with generous donor members in the community. Parents provide a list of wishes and needs for each family member and after receiving their family’s list, “adopters” have some fun shopping. The gifts are then sorted and a delivery with the family is arranged. If your family, community/faith organization or workplace group would like to adopt a family for the winter holidays, please contact us.
We advocate for the needs of children with cancer and blood disorders. We support legislation at the state and local level that will increase funding for more effective and safer cures for childhood cancers and blood disorders, and for the many medical issues faced by survivors of these diseases.
Cancer Family Support Group
Social isolation is a serious concern for children with cancer and blood disorders, their parents and their siblings. Badger Childhood Cancer Network supports the emotional needs of our families and hosts a free monthly support group.
Kids (patients, survivors and their siblings) do outdoor activities like mini golf and indoor activities in the arcade. Kids can also do crafts and other fun activities with our UW-Madison student volunteers.
Meets every 3rd Sunday- from September through May
- 4 PM – Vitense Golfland – 5501 Schroeder Rd, Madison, WI 53711
- Kids (patients, survivors and their siblings) do outdoor activities like mini golf and indoor activities in the arcade. Kids can also do crafts and other fun activities with our UW-Madison student volunteers.
- Adults have time to talk, learn and share.
- Pizza and salad will be served at 5:30 p.m.
- This event is free for families thanks to Badger Childhood Cancer Network donors.
- Families don’t need to RSVP.
- If you have questions about support groups please contact us.
New Diagnosis Bags
After an initial diagnosis and assessment, the patient/family admitted to the American Family Children’s Hospital receives a New Diagnosis Bag from Badger Childhood Cancer Network.
A large duffel bag includes:
- Informational Folder and Resources for Parent/Guardian
- Age-Appropriate Resources for Patient
- Cuddly Comfort Items
- Toys, Games, Craft Materials and Other Quiet-Time Activities
- Toiletry Kit
- Gas Card
Family Fun Events
- Free Quarterly Parties (Spring Party, Summer Picnic, Fall Party and Holiday Party)
- June Kids’ Fishing Day
- FUNdraising Events
- Other Fun Opportunities As They Come Up
The entire family is welcome to attend. There are plenty of activities for patients, siblings and parents, so everyone can enjoy events as a family and network with others who may be on the same journey.
Hero Bead Program
Badger Childhood Cancer Network began and now supports the popular bead collection program for patients treated at the American Family Children’s Hospital. Hero Beads let kids/teens with cancer or blood disorders commemorate their personal treatment journey in the form of a string of beads; a simple, tangible record of their experience. Each bead represents a specific treatment protocol or special event occurring during a child’s illness journey (blood draws, rounds of chemo, or a birthday on treatment, for example).
Patients who are interested in the program receive a “starter kit” from an American Family Children’s Hospital Patient Family Liaison. The kit includes string, an American Family Children’s Hospital bead, Badger Childhood Cancer Network bead and letters to spell out the child’s name. With each treatment or special appointment, the child can request a representative bead. Families receive a bead checklist to keep track of all of the beads they have earned. Parents/patients keep track of the milestones and can request additional beads and updates as needed.
Over time, Hero Beads provide a symbol of each patient’s personal journey, a visible testament to strength and endurance. Badger Childhood Cancer Network’s Hero Beads are our local adaptation of the trademarked Hero Bead program developed by American Childhood Cancer Organization of Maryland.
Your activities like support group and quarterly parties helped my son be himself again after being sick for so long. Our family feels so normal when participating in your events. Badger Childhood Cancer Network has been a safety net for us when we’ve felt we’ve lost our way.
-Mom of a child with Neuroblastoma