About Us

Capital Candlelighters Holiday Party 1998

Capital Candlelighters Holiday Party 1998


Badger Childhood Cancer Network was founded more than 30 years ago by parents of children with cancer.  It was originally known as Capital Candlelighters, and served as a regional support group for families of kids treated for cancer in Madison.  In the late 1990s, parents in the organization began to develop resources to serve the needs of newly diagnosed children and their families in addition to regular support groups. Over the past 15 years, we have worked to enhance and evolve our programs and services to meet the expressed needs of families whose children are in treatment for cancer and blood disorders at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison.  In late 2010, our board voted to change our legal name to Badger Childhood Cancer Network to better express who we serve and what we do, and in recent years we have expanded our services to support all children treated for hematological and oncological disorders in our region.

The Needs

Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children in the United States.  Cancer takes more children’s lives than AIDS, asthma, diabetes and muscular dystrophy combined.  Children with cancer are given aggressive treatment regimens that can last from several months to two or three years, and require near-constant care from a parent.  Children with sickle cell disease, the second largest group of kids treated in the pediatric heme-onc clinic, face a lifetime of health problems and pain crises, blood transfusions, strokes and more.  Children and teens with cancer and blood disorders cannot be cared for in their local community hospital, but must travel to regional specialty treatment centers.  Many of the kids we serve have to travel two hours or more each way for tests, treatments and hospitalizations.  Surveys of the families we serve indicate that they experience an average drop in family income of 30% or more during the first year after diagnosis for cancer, and a lower level of income loss but over a much longer period of time in the case of children with chronic disorders like sickle cell disease and indolent brain tumors.  Increased medical and travel expenses combined with lowered income add to the stress and worry of families caring for a child with a life-threatening illness.  Social isolation is also a serious concern for children with cancer and blood disorders, their siblings and parents.

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.