NEW HOLSTEIN, Wis. — NEW HOLSTEIN, Wis. (NBC 26) — For nearly two years, Macullen Schnell fought a hard battle against cancer. But through it all, he put others first, including his sister who's expecting a baby.
"After he found out that I was pregnant, even though he was sitting in the hospital and I wanted to know how he was doing and what the doctor said, he didn't really care about that," older sister Mikayla Alvarez said. "He kind of pushed that off and said 'well, how's the baby?' He was so proud that he was gonna be an uncle, so he found out he was gonna get a nephew in May."
And while he won't be there in person when the baby is born, Scnhell dedicated his 23 years of life to service.
"He's not with us, but in June when that baby is not stopping crying in the middle of the night, he's there," Alvarez said. "He's gonna be there watching."
Late Saturday into early Sunday, Schnell died after a bout with lymphoma at just 23 years old. He was a patrol officer with the New Holstein Police Department and a Kiel native.
"My dad called me again and put me on speaker phone, so I was able to talk to him and we just kept telling him that we love him and that he was a fighter," Alvarez said. "So even though I wasn't there physically with him, he knew I was there."
Within a few weeks of his death, Schnell skipped a doctors appointment just to make it to Shop with a Cop, a sacrifice his former coworkers didn't expect.
"Just with my background, I'm always early," officer Charles Schroeder said. "I showed up at Walmart, and he was there waiting for us."
Even after his cancer diagnosis in January of 2020, friends and family say Schnell always fought for the community.
"[He] just always had a smile on his face, happy-go-lucky," New Holstein mayor Jeff Hebl said. "[He was] real calm, collected. He did anything you asked him to do. Just a good overall kid, the kind of kid you'd want your daughter to marry."
While his sister awaits the coming of her newborn son, she knows she won't be going it alone.
"We keep saying that he's not struggling anymore," she said. "He's in a better place and now he's with us wherever we go."