Raising money for cancer research: Badger Challenge takes place Sept. 25

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Momentum is building ahead of the annual "Badger Challenge" later this month, an opportunity to support cancer research. 

A local man's reason for support it is personal. 

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

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

It's now why the event is staged at the American Family Insurance national headquarters in Madison. 

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

"I noticed I had a lump on my throat, right under my chin. And I thought it was a lymph node, or something. I talked to the doctor, she said I should see the ENT. ENT said I should have it removed, so a month later I had it removed, and it was sizable, about the size of a golf ball. And I found out it was cancerous," said Voelkel. 

Voelkel was connected to Doctor 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 chatted for quite some time about the specific details of how they customized, tailoring of his cancer therapy could maximize the cure rate but minimize the collateral damage to normal tissues, that was very important to him as it was to us," said Dr. Harari. 

There are a lot of ways to participate in the Badger Challenge. You can walk, run or ride. Distances include a 5K run/walk, a half marathon, and various bike routes. 

It all goes down Sunday, Sept. 25. 

For more information, CLICK HERE

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