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Mandi Schwartz's fight against cancer takes a big step forward as she found a donor

Aug 4, 2010, 8:10 PM EDT

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jadenschwartzdraftday.jpg(Jaden Schwartz, brother of Mandi Schwartz)

While discussions of ill health and death are often sobering accounts of why hockey isn’t really as big of a deal as we make it out to be, there are occasionally uplifting moments amid the doom and gloom. Take the story of Mandi Schwartz, sister of 2010 first round draft pick Jaden Schwartz.

Mandi played hockey for Yale and tried out for Canada’s national under-22 team, but what made her story stand out was her battle with cancer. She seemed to turn the corner when she found out that her cancer went into remission in June, but then found out that she needed to find a stem cell donor by September to survive. TSN reports that the 22-year-old is preparing for that surgery in Seattle right now.

Schwartz is battling acute myeloid leukemia and will undergo the transplant Aug. 26 after a desperate search by her family and doctors for a stem cell donor finally paid off.

The family’s hard-charging campaign to find a donor is a big reason why Schwartz might get the treatment (and most importantly, the right transplant) that she needs. Here’s more about the movement to find a donor.

The Schwartz family cast a wide net in its campaign — “Become Mandi’s Hero” — to find an appropriate donor. More than 1,600 people were tested at bone-marrow drives at Yale the past two years, and a Facebook page has more than 5,000 followers. For more information, visit www.becomemyhero.org.

While an appropriate donor has been found for Mandi, her family says it will continue its crusade for donors.

The best part might be that the family will continue to find donors. Celebrities – even somewhat minor ones like Mandi and Jaden Scwhartz – often fight for causes once they hit close to home, but that’s understandable. What changes that from what seems like self-service to something bigger is when they raise awareness for a cause, so if this process ends up saving more lives beyond (hopefully) Mandi’s then that’s even better.

It will be hard to root against Mandi or her brother/St. Louis Blues prospect Jaden in the future. Hopefully Mandi will get the chance to play hockey again sometime soon.

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