Who We Are

Our Story

Parents of children with cancer founded the Badger Childhood Cancer Network more than 30 years ago. It was originally known as Capital Candlelighters and served as a regional support group for families of kids treated for cancer in Madison. Anne Spurgeon and David Woods (both pictured) were integral in forming the group in order to help other children and families find their footing immediately after diagnosis and beyond.

In the late 1990s, the parents decided they wanted to do more to help newly diagnosed children and their families. Over the past 15 years, Badger Childhood Cancer Network has expanded the programs and services offered in order to meet the expressed needs of families whose children are on treatment for cancer and life-threatening blood disorders at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison. In an effort to better reflect the individuals served, the board of directors voted in late 2010, to change the group’s name to Badger Childhood Cancer Network. 


The Problem

Families of a child with cancer or a life-threatening blood disorder need all kinds of help. A diagnosis affects not just the ill child but the entire family. Kids with cancer receive aggressive treatments that can last from several months to several years. Children with sickle cell disease, the second largest group of kids treated in the pediatric heme-oncology clinic, face a lifetime of health problems; pain crises, blood transfusions, strokes and more. Children and teens with cancer and blood disorders who cannot be cared for in their local community hospital often travel to regional specialty treatment centers, like the American Family Children’s Hospital.

Many of the kids Badger Childhood Cancer Network serves travel two hours or more each way for tests, treatments and hospitalization at the American Family Children’s Hospital. Surveys of these families indicate that they experience an average decrease in family income of 40% or more during the first year after diagnosis for cancer, and a lower level of income loss over a much longer period of time in the case of children with chronic disorders like sickle cell disease. This significant loss of income is due in part because frequent treatment protocols require constant care from a parent. A parent must leave work temporarily or permanently to accompany a child to critical appointments and treatments. Travel and meal expenses contribute to the loss of income for many families.

Our Mission

Our mission is to educate, support, serve and advocate for children with cancer and blood disorders, their families, survivors of childhood cancer and the professionals who care for them.

Our Goal

To provide appropriate support to children with cancer and blood disorders and their families, from diagnosis to the end of treatment, into survivorship or through bereavement.

Non-Discrimination Policy

Badger Childhood Cancer Network provides compassionate services to all children with cancer and blood disorders in our service area and to their families regardless of religious belief, racial or ethnic background, skin color, marital status, gender, sexual orientation or level of disability. We do not discriminate in employment or in membership to our governing board by race, color, religion, physical ability, national origin, age, gender, marital status or sexual orientation.

My son received frequent treatments for his cancer and I was forced to drive long distances to get him to his appointments. Badger Childhood Cancer Network helped me with gas cards so that I had a little extra money to buy my son a birthday cake.


-Dad of a child with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma