Badger Challenge takes place on September 25

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Momentum is gaining momentum ahead of the annual “Badger Challenge” later this month, an opportunity to support cancer research.

The reason a local man supports him is personal.

The Badger Challenge raises funds for cancer research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as treatments provided by the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

Mukwonago’s Jeff Voelkel worked at American Family Insurance in 2018 when he was approached by one of the event’s co-founders to form a partnership.

That’s why the event is being hosted at American Family Insurance’s national headquarters in Madison.

Voelkel retired in 2019, but that’s not where his story ends.

“I noticed I had a lump in my throat, just under my chin. And I thought it was a lymph node, or something. I spoke to the doctor, she said that I should see the ENT. The ENT said I should have it removed, so a month later I had it removed, and it was quite big, about the size of a golf ball. And I found out it was cancerous,” Voelkel said.

Voelkel was in contact with Dr. Paul Harari, a radiation oncology specialist at UW-Madison who specializes in head and neck cancer. Voelkel began six weeks of radiation therapy last August.

“So he and his wife, we discussed for some time the specific details of how they personalized, tailoring his cancer therapy might maximize the cure rate but minimize collateral damage to normal tissue, which was very important to him because it was for us,” Dr Harari said.

There are many ways to participate in the Badger Challenge. You can walk, run or ride. Distances include a 5k run/walk, half marathon and various bike trails.

It all happens on Sunday, September 25.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

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