Bedford's Connor Bartlett fights back from cancer

BEDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WTVG) - Connor Barlett was sitting in class at Bedford High School when his body began shutting down.

An ambulance was called and he was rushed to the hospital. Within a few hours, Connor and his family knew -- he had cancer.

"It hits you like a ton of bricks," Connor's mother Kim Bartlett said. "It stops your world."

Connor had stage 4 cancer, which had spread to 21 places throughout his body, including his brain, lungs and kidneys.

Through eight months in and out of the hospital, with treatments including a bone marrow transplant, Connor kept coming back to his wrestling experience to help him battle the cancer.

And he didn't go it alone, either. His teammates from the Kicking Mules wrestling team rallied around Bartlett. Their visits are something he said he'll never forget.

"That was the major thing that kept me fighting," Bartlett said, "the endurance and toughness I learned in the (wrestling) room kept me fighting."

Bartlett missed most of his junior year and that entire wrestling season while battling cancer. In February 2019, he was declared cancer free.

And once that fight was over, he was ready to get back on the mats. During this year's Michigan state team championship, Barlett carried the state flag on the mat.

"Winning wrestling matches is a lot like fighting cancer," Bartlett said. "You can roll over and lose the match. Yeah, it's easier, but then you're done. Or you can keep fighting the whole time, keep churning legs, and who knows what will happen. Maybe you'll end up on top."