Norwell: Middle School Student Striving for a Cure

A 12-year-old in Norwell is trying to increase funding and raise awareness about childhood cancer.

Nicole “Nikki” Schindler is in early remission after she was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor two years ago.

She said children’s cancer is the most underfunded cancer in the world.

“I just want kids to have better treatment and not feel as bad, gross, and sick as all the other kids are,” said Schindler.

Since her diagnosis, Schindler has been striving to make a difference for those battling childhood cancer. Last year, the Norwell Little League raised $5,000 in her name. Schindler asked that it be donated to Massachusetts General Hospital.

“We get our strength from our daughter,” said her father, Jerry Schindler. “How she has carried herself with this disease and fought, raised the bar on awareness – she’s a very special person.”

Knowing first-hand how treatment takes place, Nikki Schindler even managed to help change procedure for portacath use at Mass General. A portacath is a device used in chemotherapy.

“In the emergency room, they don’t know how to access it at Mass General,” she said. “The first time they don’t get it – you’re a little panicked. The second time, you wonder ‘do I need a new port, what’s wrong?’ It’s terrible.”

The portacath has varying needle sizes for access. Schindler said she spoke to the head of nursing at MGH about her concern. This month, procedure was updated with instructions on how to better access the portacath.

“When I went to get the portacath,” said Schindler. “My doctors were like ‘thank you, you really made a difference,’ and that made me feel really good about what I’m doing.”

Schindler is planning to return to Norwell Middle School in the fall. Her campaign to raise awareness will continue.

“We have to do a better job so people don’t have to fear it and we can beat it,” said Jerry Schindler. “We can do that by raising awareness and raising the monies for funding.”

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the color is gold. Nikki Schindler is currently selling T-Shirts she designed to continue to raise awareness.

The blue shirts have “Cure” written on the front and “Be Gold” on the back. All proceeds will be donated to Mass General Hospital Pediatric Cancer research.

She wants to keep making a difference.

“It feels really good to know that you can do something,” said Schindler. “It just makes your heart smile.”

The shirts can be ordered at GMSchindler@Outlook.com.

Nikki Schindler, flanked by her parents, Jerry and Maureen. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.
Nikki Schindler, flanked by her parents, Jerry and Maureen. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

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About Lenny Rowe

Lenny Rowe is one of the newest additions to the WATD News team. He grew up in Pembroke and was an intern at WATD in 2012. A 2016 graduate from Suffolk University, Lenny left the City of Boston and now lives in Rockland. Lenny has covered both news and sports, from the trial of James "Whitey" Bulger to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Outside of WATD, Lenny covers high school sports for The Boston Globe. Lenny can be reached at Lenny.Rowe30@Gmail.com