December 22, 2010
The story of Mandi Schwartz has taken another turn, and it's a sad one: The former Yale University hockey player's cancer has returned for a third time this year, roughly three months after a stem-cell transplant gave hope that she'd finally beaten it.
Schwartz was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2008. It went into remission in 2009, and then returned again in April. That's when her inspiring story spread around the hockey world, as the search for compatible stem cells led to a September transplant.
The latest biopsy was performed on Dec. 13 and results relayed to the family on Dec. 17. The entire Schwartz family, her mother Carol, father Rick, brothers Jaden and Rylan and fiancé Kaylem Prefontaine, have been spending time with her in Seattle.
"The results of the biopsy caught us off-guard, because we had hoped to be done with this part of the battle," Carol Schwartz said. "Mandi remains committed to fighting this disease, and we are going to continue doing everything in our power to help her. We are so grateful for all the support we have received throughout this ordeal. We know how many families have been affected by cancer, and we know that the efforts to raise awareness of this cause that have been made on Mandi's behalf are making a difference for her and for so many other patients in need. That gives us the strength to keep going."
Check out the Yale University site for a detailed account of this latest setback for the former Bulldog player, and the treatment she's undergoing to fight it.
In a drama that's never lacked for either hope or heartbreak, the news that Mandi's cancer had returned came just two days after her brother, St. Louis Blues prospect Jaden Schwartz, learned he'll be a part of Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo.
Jaden is the leading scorer with Colorado College (brother Rylan is second); he was the 14th pick in the 2010 NHL draft, selected by St. Louis; and now he is about to represent Canada at the world junior tournament. "There hasn't been a whole lot of jumping up and really happy days with our family," Jaden says. "I think about it all the time.
"This was her dream for me to make this team, she's as proud as anybody anytime I get an achievement or an accomplishment in hockey. Everything I do is for her. She's a hockey player and she can't play hockey right now, so I'm kind of doing everything I can for her right now."
The Schwartz family released a letter to supporters that you can read here. Much more about this story at the Yale site. Thoughts and prayers with the Schwartz family this holiday season.