Olympic champ Helen Maroulis visits with 11-year-old wrestler Mikey Schneider who is fighting cancer

By Tony Black, USA Wrestling | March 08, 2018, 3:44 p.m. (ET)
Mikey Schneider, an 11-year-old in Connecticut, has been in many tough matches during his five years as a wrestler, but he’s currently in his toughest match to date. His opponent this time? Stage 4 Cancer.

Metastatic Neuroblastoma, the cancer Mikey has been diagnosed with, is a cancer of the nervous system that was discovered arising from his adrenal gland.

Since his initial diagnosis, additional tests have revealed that the cancer has spread to his lungs and bones. Thus, his doctors are taking an aggressive approach, including a treatment schedule of high dose chemotherapy, followed by surgery, immunotherapy and radiation therapy. Mikey will continue to be grappling this match for his life over the next 12-14 months.

2016 Olympic gold medalist and two time World champion Helen Maroulis recently visited Mikey and his family in between his treatment sessions at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. During the visit, Maroulis was immediately welcomed into the Schneider family, where they shared stories and laughs, played games and took pictures together.

Mikey was also presented with his own personalized USA World Team singlets with “Schneider” on the back, along with some other USA Wrestling gear.

The visit was coordinated by USA Wrestling and Randy Haus, one of the leaders of the Norwalk Mad Bulls, the wrestling club that Mikey and his brothers belong to in Connecticut.

The hashtags #mikeystrong and #flarpcancer have been used in social media posts regarding Mikey’s battle, and the slogan has been used on wrist bands and ski caps in an effort to raise awareness.

With support from his parents, Brian and Heather Schneider, brothers John (JT) and Ryan, and younger sister, Lachlan, Mikey is not alone in his current match. Additionally, the local wrestling community has shown tremendous support. For example, many area wrestlers have shaved their heads to support Mikey as a showing of solidarity.

“Mikey never chooses the easy path and will always do things his own way, with a little Mikey swagger,” said Brian. “As his dad and one of his wrestling coaches, I expect to see no difference here.”

Helen Maroulis had a great time meeting with Mikey and his family and was inspired by them.

“Thanks for an amazing hangout yesterday with Mikey Schneider and the whole Schneider family. It was an amazing day. These new friends are awesome,” she posted to Instagram.

A GoFundMe site has been set up to help raise funds for Mikey and the Schneider family. To visit, please go to https://www.gofundme.com/5f237d-mikeystrong