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2022 Honoree     


Samuel Alvarez

On Saturday, August 13th, 2022 Middleton Police will join with Middleton Fire & EMS Departments to host the 10th Annual Battle of the Badges fundraiser.

Each year, we come together to plan this community event consisting of a 5K fun run/walk, followed by a police/EMS vs fire softball game. This event is a fun, family-friendly event aimed at bringing the community together with their first responders to help a local family in need.

We would like to introduce you to 12-year-old Samuel Alvarez! On Friday, November 26, 2021, Samuel was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (cancer of the blood).  He is undergoing weekly chemotherapy treatments and regular blood and platelet transfusions.

Battle of the Badges will help to raise awareness of this awful disease, as well as raise funds for Samuel & his family to help with medical and other expenses.

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We are thrilled to announce the return of our Battle of the Badges charity fundraiser for 2021.  We hope to see you on Saturday, August 14th for a day full of events.  We would like to introduce you to 4-year old Ella!  Ella was diagnosed in August 2019 with Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a rare type of cancer that forms in soft tissue; specifically skeletal muscle tissue or sometimes hollow organs such as the bladder or uterus.  RMS can occur at any age, but it most often affects children.

Ella had surgery to remove a large tumor in her abdomen and started 67 weeks of chemotherapy in September 2019.  Each week is a little different for her as she gets different combos of chemo.  Some weeks she gets chemo each day. Some weeks she is in-patient.  And other days they travel back and forth each day. Ella and her family have expressed how very lucky they are to live in Middleton!

Ella’s parents are Brian and Annie and her siblings are Abby, Parker and Timothy.  The family has expressed that Ella has been the saving grace that keeps them on the sunny side of life.  Ella loves all things pink and sparkly!  She loves Disney princesses, Doc McStuffins, Paw Patrol and playing pretend in her kitchen, grocery store, hospital and Library in her room. 

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2021 Honoree     

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Ella Wayman

2023 Honoree     

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Jesus Carranza Saldana

Introducing to you, the 2023 Battle of the Badges Honoree, Jesus Carranza Saldana.  Jesus is a Junior at Middleton High School.  On his 17th birthday, September 23, 2022, he abruptly collapsed while at home with Mom.  He was taken to the hospital by ambulance and within 24 hours, he was diagnosed with high risk B-cell Leukemia.  It came as a shock, as no one in their entire family have had a significant medical diagnosis.  


Jesus has been going strong with treatments and chemotherapy!  He is doing well, in great spirits and supported by his family.  Jesus loves to play soccer and spend time with family and friends. 

Please join us on August 12 at 10am for the big game!

2019 Honoree     


Sean "Aqua Man" McGrath

For the 8th consecutive year, we are planning a police & EMS vs fire softball game, as well as a 5K fun run/walk on Saturday, August 10, 2019 from 8:30am-12:30pm at Middleton Firefighters Memorial Park at 3210 Pleasant View Rd.  The honoree chosen this year is four-year old Sean “Aqua Man” McGrath and here is a little bit about Sean and his family.  Sean is 4 years old and absolutely loves everything to do with Super Heroes!  He lives in Middleton with his parents, Patrick and Kelly, and two sisters, Ashleigh and Taylor.  He is the middle child, but his mom says he is ALL BOY!  Besides Super Heroes, Sean loves cars, trucks & playing outside with his two sisters & dog Bailey.

Sean was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in January of 2019.  Doctors located a large tumor on his stomach & enlarged lymph nodes in the same area.  A CT scan also showed that Sean had an enlarged lymph node on his neck, which puts him into the High-Risk Category (Metastatic Stage).  Sean is currently undergoing an aggressive treatment protocol at American Family Children’s Hospital. 

Sean has a contagious laugh that can make anyone smile.  Along with that awesome laugh, Sean is a happy, caring 4-year old who also has a serious sensitive side.  After meeting Sean we don’t believe anyone would disagree with Kelly.  Sean is an absolutely beautiful boy who is full of life and has a fulltime smile attached to his face!  You can’t help but fall in love with him the moment you meet him.

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Life can change in an instant … and one day last fall, that is exactly what happened to Kate & Tyler Payne and their 11-month-old daughter, Rylee. Kate is from Middleton, Tyler from Seneca and Rylee has a blast with her four cousins, Alden, Hudson, Madden & Kyan.  She enjoys watching them play sports and those boys are her favorite.  Rylee also loves her aunts, uncles and grandparents, who all spoil her rotten!  Rylee loves being outside and her favorite activities are swinging and going for walks and she can always be found dancing to music as well!  Rylee and her family also love anything Bucky Badger!  On Wisconsin!

Over the 2017 Labor Day weekend, Kate and Tyler noticed something hard in Rylee’s stomach.  They knew it wasn’t normal and scheduled an appointment for her to be seen immediately following the holiday weekend. Other than this, Rylee was acting like her usual self; an active, full of life, goofy little lady!

At her appointment, Kate was told that Rylee needed to been seen immediately at the American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH) and shortly after arriving at AFCH, tests, scans and ultrasounds were in full swing.  Doctors quickly confirmed that Rylee had a large mass on her adrenal gland near her liver and kidneys and, based on what was known, it was cancerous.  Rylee had a biopsy as well as a bone marrow aspiration which ultimately confirmed the diagnosis; Neuroblastoma.

Rylee started chemotherapy treatments for a few hours per day for three days in a row, then she had three weeks to recover before starting the next cycle.  Further testing was done while awaiting results from the biopsy, which was sent to UCLA’s Children’s Hospital where a pathologist who specializes in Neuroblastoma gave it a careful look.  Rylee has endured surgeries, chemotherapy and on March 9, she received a stem cell transplant at AFCH and has been recovering well for the past month.

Rylee and her family were chosen to be honored by the 2018 Battle of the Badges fundraisers.  Money raised will be given to Rylee and her family to help offset medical expenses, lost wages due to not being able to work, groceries, etc.  


UPDATEOn Monday, May 7, 2018, Rylee passed away peacefully in the arms of her loving parents.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Kate & Tyler and all of their family, friends & neighbors and we join the family in thanking everyone for their outpouring of support. Her complete obituary can be found here.  Kate & Tyler are so grateful for the love, support and prayers that they have received thus far and we want to help keep all those thoughts, prayers and good vibes coming!

2018 Honoree     

Rylee Payne

2017 Honoree     

Bennie Pomo

The 6th Annual Battle of the Badges fundraiser for local families affected by childhood disease is right around the corner! This year, we are raising funds for 6-year old Bennie, who is a miracle child with a true fighting spirit. On Saturday, August 12, 2017, we will team up with Middleton Fire & EMS to bring the community together for this special child & his family. There will be a 5K fun run/walk at 8:30am & a police vs fire softball game at 10am. There will be concessions, silent auction, games, prizes & much more! Sign up for the 5K today at

Bennie was born early due to pregnancy complications & has had an uphill battle ever since. He was born not breathing & was very sick & had to be placed on a ventilator. After seeing numerous doctors & specialists, he was diagnosed with Chromosome 14Q Deletion. Bennie's family quickly found out that this meant he was missing an entire piece of a chromosome, which brought with it many sub-diagnoses.

Over the past five years, Bennie has seen about 20 specialists & had over a dozen surgeries. He has lung disease, brain lung thyroid syndrome, chorea, brain damage, scoliosis & many other conditions that have rendered him non-verbal with a slim chance of ever walking or talking. 

Bennie lives in Madison with his mom & dad, Mary & Rick, and siblings Samuel & Samantha. He also has adult siblings, Andrew & Allison who are going to college in the Madison area.

Please join us on Saturday, August 12, for the 5K & softball game. Together, we can make a difference for Bennie & his family!!

The 2016 Battle of the Badges honoree is 13-year old Austin Noel from Middleton.  Austin has a rare condition called Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) which, according to the National MPS Society, affects an estimated 1 out of 70,000 children and there is presently no cure.  Austin was diagnosed at age 5 when it was discovered that he was having a hard time keeping up with the development of his peers.  The type of MPS Austin has impacts his brain.  His body doesn’t make an important enzyme that is needed to get rid of toxins that accumulate in his brain cells and, slowly, Austin has lost his ability to talk, walk and eat by mouth.  


Austin has always taken his condition in stride.  Austin works hard at every aspect of life, yet still has a smile on his face.  Austin moved to Middleton from California in 2012 with his dad, Austin and Mom, Cheryl.  His sister, Madison is attending college in Michigan.  Austin attended Sauk Trail and is currently in 7th grade at Kromrey Middle School.  His parents have been so thankful for all the attention and support he has received from the students and staff at both schools.  


They also have been thankful for all the great medical care he receives from UW Clinics.  The family receives a lot of support from family, friends and the MPS Society, which has helped them find other children and families that live with this condition.  Colin is one of them and he lives in

2016 Honoree     

Austin Noll

Verona.  The family has really been enjoying life in Middleton.


Austin loves going for walks on the trails in Middleton, listening to music, and watching his favorite children's shows.  There are currently a couple of treatment studies that are starting and the hope is that one of these treatments will mean that no child will have to suffer from this condition in the future.

2015 Honoree     

Jackson Pagel

It's time for the 4th Annual Battle of the Badges and our 2015 honoree is 15-year old Jackson Pagel from Middleton.  Jackson just finished his freshman year at MHS, he loves sports (especially basketball) and his idol is Taylor Swift (he actually calls her a “Goddess”).  Last year, Jackson was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare cancerous bone tumor and he has been undergoing treatment as he continues to battle this disease.  Jackson lives in Middleton with his parents, Jim & Susan, and he has an adult sister who lives out of state.


Jackson has been very active in basketball at MHS, in fact, through “Team J Pagel” his teammates completed this great tribute video:



Facebook event page:


Find out more about osteosarcoma:


Meet four-year old Blake Rickert.  Blake is a beautiful young boy who was diagnosed with Burkitt Leukemia in January 2014.  Doctors are treating his disease with an aggressive treatment protocol at American Family Children's Hospital.  Since initial diagnosis, he has been hospitalized more than he’s

been home.  We will be honoring Blake at the 3rd Annual Battle of the Badges charity softball game between Middleton Police Officers & Fire Fighters from the Middleton Fire District on Saturday, August 9th.


Blake lives in Fitchburg with his parents, Jill and Kevin.  Blake is an active and inquisitive little boy who loves diggers, plow trucks, vacuum cleaners, fire trucks, police cars, cooking, shoveling, raking, gardening and playing outside.  He is a sweet, loving child who smiles and laughs a lot, even from his hospital bed.


The Rickerts’ are a close, loving family who never imagined that their little boy would have to deal with cancer.  Blake was initially diagnosed with influenza and then pneumonia.  Struck with the realization that Blake was not getting any better, Kevin and Jill took Blake to the UW Children’s Hospital, where an ultrasound discovered fluid outside of is stomach wall.  Additionally, CT scans and a bone marrow biopsy revealed tumors in Blake’s stomach and leukemic cells in his bone marrow.

2014 Honoree     

Blake Rickert

It was determined that Blake had Burkitt’s Leukemia, it was already very serious as Blake had fluid making it difficult for him to breath and action needed to be taken right away as he was a very sick little guy.  Burkitt’s is a very rapidly growing cancer; it can double in size every 14 hours.  Although it is rare, the patient has a great survival rate as this rapidly aggressive cancer responds well to chemotherapy. Jill and Kevin are very thankful to have the wonderful Oncology staff and nurses at the UW Children's Hospital taking care of Blake.

2013 Honoree     

Cole Truitt

Middleton Police, Fire & Emergency Medical Departments are planning their 2nd annual charity softball game between MIPD and MIFD to raise awareness and funds to help families affected by childhood cancer. Cole Truitt is a very energetic 5-year-old boy who lives in our community.  


Cole had been sick for about three weeks before he was diagnosed, November 6th, 2012.  According to his mom, Toni, "Cole is a very active and very social little guy.  He's really handled his treatment and change of lifestyle very well.  His spirits are good most days. He's very curious about everything.  He's passionate about firemen (we've visited several stations in the area) and police officers.  He enjoys all outdoor activities, fishing, playing with friends, Star Wars, Legos, Power Rangers, and music.”

A brief history about Cole and his diagnosis, (ALL - Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).


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In February 2012, James Helmuth, 9 years old at the time, was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive cancer, Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma (ACC), after experiencing chest pains following a basketball accident.  At his insistence, Dad took him in for an x-ray that revealed metastatic cancer nodules in his lungs from a large adrenal tumor.


In days, UW Hospital Surgeons had removed the primary tumor, one of his kidneys and had charted out a detailed plan for long-term healing. Only 400 cases of ACC are diagnosed in the US each year; extremely few are found in the diseases’ early stages — and few medical experts can successfully treat this rare and difficult disease.


So far, James’ treatment has involved surgery and a planned total of 10 months of chemotherapy.  Additionally, he may have lung surgery to completely remove all remaining cancer. In the long-term, James will have to manage the loss of his adrenal glands and the need for daily chemotherapy medicines for an indefinite amount of time.  Mom and Dad have contingency plans to travel to the MD Anderson Clinic in Texas or the National Institutes of Health, if needed, to seek expert consultations to help ensure that James is forever cured.


James loves to watch and play basketball and football and he loves karate and swimming.  James has many friends including a special place in his heart for Bella, Buddy, and Sparkle - the family dog and two cats.  James loves his big brother, Jack, and puts up with his silly Mom, Lisa, and Dad, Jeff.  James enjoys a full and happy life in Middleton Wisconsin.


Proceeds from this event will benefit the James Helmuth Benefit Fund & Badger Children’s Cancer Network.




2012 Honoree     

James Helmuth

James lost his courageous battle with cancer on Saturday, March 23, 2013, and the police department created a memorial page and video in his honor, which can be found by clicking here

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