Mandi Schwartz, the 22-year-old sister of Blues' first-round pick Jaden Schwartz, is in a Seattle hospital preparing for a stem cell transplant after a lengthy search by her family and doctors for a stem cell donor finally paid off.
Schwartz, who's battling acute myeloid leukemia, will undergo the transplant Aug. 26. She was declared in remission in June, which bought her some time, but doctors told the family that she needed a transplant before September to survive.
"Her health is good and she is continuing to work on some strengthening to ensure she is in good condition for the transplant," Rick Schwartz, Mandi's father, said on YaleBulldogs.com.
Mandi Schwartz (David Silverman, DSPics.com)
Schwartz played for the Yale hockey team and has tried out for Canada's national under-22 women's team. Schwartz was forced to take a year off from school after she was diagnosed with cancer in December 2008. She went home to Wilcox, Sask., for several rounds of chemotherapy. She got the OK to return to Yale in January to finish her junior year, but the cancer returned in April and forced her back into treatment.
The Schwartz family started a 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.
Though a donor has been found for Schwartz, her family says it will continue its effort to look for donors.
"Cord blood donations and bone marrow registration still remain our family's top priorities," Rick Schwartz said. "Education and awareness about the worldwide need for donors benefits not just us but all patients in need of a transplant and there are many such patients."
For more information, visit www.yalebulldogs.com/mandi
Material from wire services was used in this report