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Badger Childhood Cancer Network helps families fighting cancer with grant from Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation

Third in a series of articles on local charitable organizations supported by grants awarded by the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation through American Family Insurance Championship proceeds.

You’ve just received devastating news, something no parent ever wants to or should ever have to hear: Your child has cancer.

And now, when your sole focus should be getting your child well, you are faced with other crushing concerns. Medical bills. Travel expenses to get necessary treatments. Time off to care for a sick child, which means less work, less income and more debt.

That’s where Badger Childhood Cancer Network (BCCN) comes in. For 30 years, BCCN has been supporting and advocating for children with cancer – from infants through age 18 – and their families.

Extreme financial burden of cancer diagnosis

“When a child is first diagnosed with cancer, there is generally a decrease in family income by about 40%,” said Susannah Peterson, executive director, Badger Childhood Cancer Network. “Childhood cancer treatment protocols are lengthy and aggressive. One parent must leave work either temporarily or permanently to accompany his/her child to appointments and critical treatments at the American Family Children's Hospital. Often times, a childhood cancer diagnosis is just one stressor on a family.”

Peterson said finding the funds to pay for essential bills like mortgage/rent, phone bill, utilities and car repairs is often difficult for families who have to choose between paying a bill or funding their child's treatments, medications or needs related to other family members. A child with leukemia, for example, can be in treatment an average of three-and-a-half years.

BCCN provides financial and emotional support to families

BCCN supports families all throughout Wisconsin and some in northern Illinois, by providing financial assistance during this highly stressful time. This can mean help with paying regular bills, or gift cards for groceries or gas. Two-thirds of the families they serve live on incomes of $40,000 or less.

They also offer emotional assistance, through monthly support groups, and host parties each quarter for families that offer a happy respite from medical settings. Most families are helped from diagnosis through treatment, post-treatment, or sometimes sadly, the death of a child. Many families stay in contact even after they no longer require services.

Families are referred to BCCN from American Family Children’s Hospital after completing an application to determine level of need.

The BCCN is not affiliated with any other organization, so they are funded completely with grants, individual and corporate donors, and fundraisers like their Fishing for Families and Superhero Run/Walk.

Grant allows increased financial assistance

The Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation grant awarded to BCCN allowed them to increased financial assistance per six-month period to help more families with the financial burden of a child’s cancer diagnosis.

"The Badger Childhood Cancer Network is so grateful for the grant received from the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation,” said Peterson. “With the monies received, we’re able to provide an allotted amount of funding to families in need to assure that necessary bills are paid. With this peace of mind, parents can focus on what is most important....helping their child fighting cancer, and achieve optimum well-being."

Video and learn more

Check out the video below about Badger Childhood Cancer Network. 

Learn more about the Badger Childhood Cancer Network and the good work they do in the community.

In just its first three years, the American Family Insurance Championship has provided proceeds of more than $4.7 million to 185 charitable organizations through the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation.

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About Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation
Established in 2013 when Steve Stricker became a brand ambassador for American Family Insurance, the mission of the foundation is to inspire and develop strong families and healthy kids so they can pursue their dreams. The foundation supports organizations that produce tangible outcomes that align with this mission. Web: @StrickerFNDN

About the American Family Insurance Championship
American Family Insurance, the PGA TOUR Champions and Wisconsin native Steve Stricker launched this professional golf tournament in June 2016. The American Family Insurance Championship, held annually at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wis., features a 78-player field. Past champions include Scott McCarron (2018), Fred Couples (2017) and Kirk Triplett (2016). Championship week includes the three-day tournament, two Pro-Am competitions, 5k run/walk, charity concert and a special exhibition featuring celebrities from the sports and music industries. The 2019 event will be held June 15-23 with all proceeds allocated to the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation for distribution to the American Family Children’s Hospital and other charities. More than $2.7 million has been donated to charity since the inaugural event in 2016. For more information: Web:; Twitter: @AmFamChamp; Facebook: American Family Insurance Championship; Instagram: amfamchampionship #AmFamChamp