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Go, Canada, Go! I hope you’ll take in some of the World Junior Hockey Championship this year. When you do, watch for #8 – Jaden Schwartz. If you remember the Schwartz name, its because we prayed frequently at North Pointe for his sister Mandi this year as she battled leukemia. Mandi was a hockey teammate to Jennifer Matichuk from NP, at Yale. Mandi passed away on April 3rd.
“She’s on my mind every day,” Jaden said last Saturday. “You can’t stop thinking about her. She was there for me so much. She inspires me every day still. Not a day goes by when I don’t think about her.”
“Everything I do is for her.”
As students at Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Sask., both Mandi and Jaden learned the school mottoes of “struggle and emerge” and “never lose heart.”
Little did they realize what those words would come to mean.
“They come into play in hockey and life in general,” Jaden said. “Struggle and emerge, that’s big. And never lose heart. You never want to give up. You always want to keep fighting.”
Jaden’s parents, Rick and Carol, are in Edmonton for the Junior Championship. Rick and Carol are living in the land of firsts without Mandi. First birthdays. First season-opener. First Thanksgiving. The first Christmas. The world juniors promise to provide a slight respite from the pain.
Memories of Mandi are never far from their thoughts. Rick remembers April 1st, when went to check on his daughter.
“She was riding the bike, trying to get fit, trying to stay sharp,” Rick said. “She was still riding the bike to overcome the disease that took her away from us. If you were to see her as weak as she was, riding that bike . . .
“She never lost heart until the day she left us. That will stick with me for the rest of my life.”

Joy, to Jaden, Rick, and the Schwartz family, comes from the legacy Mandi left behind. In her name, more than 4,200 people have been added to marrow drive registries in Canada and the United States.
Spearheaded by teammates like Jennifer at Yale, hockey players all over North America created a massive online campaign to find bone marrow matches and umbilical cord blood from women about to give birth.
A swab inside of the cheeks is all it takes to get started.
At Yale alone, 1,500 people signed up to be bone marrow donors. Six proved matches for patients on the waiting list.
Six people.
Mandi struggled. Others emerged.
Go to the website below to see how you can be involved as a donor.

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