Six days in intensive care was long enough for Mandi Schwartz, who finally received some positive news this week in her three-year battle with cancer.
Four weeks after undergoing her stem-cell transplant at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance's inpatient transplant unit at the University of Washington Medical Center, tests have indicated that the birth of her new immune system appears to be under way.
Engraftment, which was the next phase in her recovery, is needed in order for the transplanted stem cells to begin to grow in her bone marrow and manufacture new blood cells and immune cells. Schwartz, the sister of 2010 St. Louis Blues' first-round draft pick, Jaden Schwartz, will have a biopsy taken on Wednesday to ensure the engraftment is stable. It's possible, in fact, that she could be released from the hospital within the next three days and rejoin her parents at their Seattle home.
Complete recovery of a new immune system can take a year or longer depending on any complications as a result of the transplant. Schwartz was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia just days after helping the Yale women's hockey team to a 4-1 win against Brown back in 2008. Since then, she has undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy in an attempt to put the cancer back in remission before finally receiving her transplant on Sept. 22.
According to Sam Rubin of Yale University Sports Publicity, the women's hockey team is hoping to play their second home game of the season -- against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Nov. 12 -- before a packed house at Ingalls Rink in honor of Mandi's incredible fight against cancer. Capacity in Ingalls is 3,500.
Plans are underway to establish that game as a tribute to Mandi, and the club might even ask fans to wear white T-shirts to provide a 'white-out' effect inside the rink.
Schwartz had spent six days in intensive care with another life-threatening condition prior to receiving the good news this week. The results come following a difficult few years for Mandi and her family, including her mother Carol, father Rick, brothers Jaden and Rylan and her fiancé Kaylem Prefontaine.
"The weeks since the transplant have been physically tough on Mandi, and there have been several scary moments, but she continues to fight," Mandi's mother, Carol, told Rubin. "She remains focused on her goal of overcoming every challenge and getting her health back. We are all inspired by the support we have received from so many different people throughout this process."
Jaden and his older brother, Rylan, are teammates at Colorado College this fall. Jaden, a freshman, has 2 goals and 4 points in 4 games and Rylan, has 2 goals and 3 points in 4 contests. Jaden was the leading scorer in the United States Hockey League with the Tri-City Storm this past season, notching 83 points (33 goals) in 60 games. He became the youngest player to lead the league in scoring since 1982-83, and his output was the highest point total since Thomas Vanek in 2001-02.
For further information, please visit: http://www.yalebulldogs.com/mandi