Young boy battling stage 4 cancer achieves varsity dream

Miguel Duran is declared the winner of his match against Christian Weiss at Wautoma High...
Miguel Duran is declared the winner of his match against Christian Weiss at Wautoma High School. (WSAW Photo 1/7/20)(WSAW)
Published: Jan. 8, 2020 at 9:33 PM CST
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Tuesday night, Arlene Bialk was cheering on her son as he wrestled just like she has for countless matches before. This time, however, was different.

“It’s going to be one of those memories that I’m never going to be able to forget,” said Bialk. “It means everything to me.”

Her 9-year-old son, Miguel Duran, has been wrestling in the Wautoma youth program for four years. On Tuesday night, before the Wautoma/Wild Rose Warriors varsity wrestling team took to the mat to take on Rosholt, they had something special in store for their young teammate.

“It started as an idea of our high school wrestlers,” said Dean Weiss, Miguel’s youth wrestling coach and family friend. “They brought it forward to their coach, and the coach presented it to the family and myself and it just steam rolled from there.”

Miguel has been diagnosed with stage 4 Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that forms in soft tissue. The cancer is aggressive, leaving the young man with not a lot of time.

“This last year was a testament to how much he wanted to fight and to beat it,” said Weiss. “To come up short is kind of bitter sweet, but we’re trying to make the best of what the plans are for him.”

“He’s a warrior; he’s a fighter,” added Bialk. “He’s got the heart of a champion.”

That fighter mentality was shown when Miguel took to the varsity mat, wrestling his best friend and Wautoma/Wild Rose varsity wrestler Christian Weiss, pinning him in a decisive victory early in the second period.

Not only did he have the opportunity to fulfill his dream of wrestling in a varsity match, he earned a varsity letter and letterman jacket.

“He always tries his hardest,” said Bialk. “I’ve watched him overcome more than any 9-year-old should in these last 15 months.”

A dream achieved, all made possible by a group of teenagers who wanted to help their young teammate feel like the hero and champion he truly is.

“Wrestling is a big family in the whole community,” Weiss said. “It’s a great thing that our community has come together for this event, with our youth and our high school working together to try and give him something that is unattainable in the near future for him.”

If you would like to support Miguel and his family,