Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Schwartz ready to fight - again

If her fellow Yale students needed any extra motivation to turn out for the second annual bone marrow donor drive being held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday at the Yale Commons, word of Mandi Schwartz's second battle with leukemia should certainly do the trick.

Schwartz, a member of Yale's women's hockey team, was in a hospital room in her native Saskatchewan when a record 704 donor candidates turned out for the inaugural donor drive. It was the result of a partnership between Yale's women's hockey and football teams.

Schwartz beat leukemia and enrolled in classes at Yale this semester. She was planning on playing again next season with the Bulldogs and certainly was eagerly awaiting Thursday's donor drill. Instead, she will be boarding a plane to begin her trip back home to begin another round of chemotherapy around the time the first swabs are being done.

"It's a little scary going back home to get treatment again," Schwartz said Wednesday night after attending a banquet for the Yale women's hockey team. "I have to miss the event but I have faith in all the students and the community that they will come out, they will support the cause."

Needless to say, Schwartz was crushed when she found out Monday morning that the cancer returned.

"I am kind of worried about this being tougher this time because when the leukemia comes back again, it is going to be tougher to get rid of it but I know what it's like in the hospital now," Schwartz said. "I'll be ready to fight for the first
few months in order to get into remission. Then I am really looking forward to getting a transplant and recovering for good this time."

Schwartz, true to her nature, quietly broke the news of her latest battle with cancer. She didn't want Wednesday night's banquet to be all about her and it wasn't. But her teammates still celebrated the recently-completed season with a heavy heart.

"They are really sad and they are really shocked," Schwartz said. "It's a battle for me and the whole team. We are all going to fight together. They are going to support me and I am really thankful to have my team behind me."

The event will kick off at 11 a.m. and Schwartz is hoping to get reports of another record turnout.

"We encourage everybody not to be afraid to be a donor because it is not painful, it's not as bad as everybody thinks," Schwartz said.

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