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

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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    Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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    Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

    McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

    With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

    1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
    2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
    3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
    4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

    As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

    Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

    The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

    Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

    Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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    Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

    Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

    McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

    Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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    The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

    They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

    The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

    Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

    The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

    The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

    Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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    Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

    Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

    Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

    via Getty Images

    The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.