View Full Version : My real Mandi Scwartz Article...It should have been written first

04-05-2011, 13:05
On Monday, I wanted to write Mandi's story so much that I rushed it out, and instead I wrote something that some journalist would write behind a desk, who was under a deadline to get the story to print. So I sat down once again to write a real story, something Mandi's family would be proud of.

Mandi, I hope and pray that THIS story will be something that is more deserving of your courage....Dominick


The cold hard winter has finally blown it's last breath and spring was now upon us. Each year we go through this transition, where trees blossom, flowers bloom and Baseball returns, and while we all start to feel rejuvenated, life has a way of always preventing us from getting too joyful.

Monday I awoke to find that Mandi Schwartz's 27-month struggle with cancer, had ended. My heart ached because in a world where so many times we see and read about the cruelty of man, this one extraordinary woman had shown the world strength and courage, was now lost.

Mandi Schwartz's played Woman's Hockey for Yale University, at the age of 23, where life was just starting for so many, Mandi departed us, leaving behind memories of a young woman that we all should certainly look up to.

As a reader you could never see the many pauses throughout a story, after the above paragraph was written, my cursor blinked on and off for over an hour. I did not have writers block, I just could not put into words what my heart wanted to say to Mandi and her family. I did not want to write about hospital visits, or dates that were significant, I wanted to write something that would spur people to give a few minutes, to honor her memory. So I hope you understand if this story get's off track from time to time.

I learned about Mandi's struggle with leukemia on ESPN, I am not sure why I was drawn to her story, certainly anytime you hear or read about a young person battling Leukemia, it should and does grab our attention, but with Mandi it was something more. Watching that story, and seeing her sitting in that chair being interviewed about her fight against cancer, you could almost see her incredible strength of will, her refusal to give one inch to an enemy that has touched every family, at one time or another. That was the reason this story touched me so much, I may not have succeeded in life as I had hoped, but the one thing I refused to do was give in, I fight everyday for what little I have, so I am naturally drawn to someone similar.

This, all to young 23 year old, was the ultimate fighter, because she wasn't fighting for a car, or a job, she was fighting for her life, and if that wasn't enough she made sure the people who helped her, fought for everyone in similar circumstance.

I watched the wonderful story ESPN did when they were covering her plight. In the interview her head, now covered by a USA flag bandanna, her dirty Blond hair was lost to the many chemo treatments she had received. I watched her shoulders slightly slumped, her voice was weak and cracking, but her eyes were clear, her smile was bright, but most of all her will was as strong as ever.

I watched as friends and family were interviewed and I was heartsick when her father talked about only having 30 days to find a suitable donor, or they would have to risk going with a less than perfect donor match. Mandi's father and mother showed where Mandi's strength originated from, they too were understandably stressed from the enormousness fight that they had fought, and the burden of knowing that there was still so much more to come. I have three son's similar in age to Mandi, and I don't believe I could have made it through that interview with the strength, and courage Mandi and her family had shown.

Even with all the sadness of that interview, when Mandi and her family talked about ice-skating while she still had the strength, you could see everyone lite up. It was a moment that was unforgettable, because it brought a ray of sunshine to such a dark, and somber story.

Mandi never wanted to be the face of so many people who at this moment, were bravely fighting their own battles. As I watched Mandi in that interview you can see how uncomfortable she was talking about herself, but the moment she talked about Hockey or how everyone was working so hard for her, and for so many others, no amount of sickness would prevent her from showing the pride and joy she held in her heart.

Mandi once a leader of the Yale University woman's college hockey team, her courage was now needed to lead an army of volunteers. Her life, her strength and her strong will, would bring attention to so many who went unnoticed. Many people suffering from cancer, have family and friends that they count on, but these loved ones can only do so much. If someone needed to have a marrow transfer in order to have any chance of survival, I can only imagine how helpless they would feel.

Mandi made sure that all the wonderful students at Yale University,and anyone, across North America, who was working so tirelessly, doing their best to sign up as many people as possible for the Marrow donor program were not only working on her behalf, but she made it clear that they needed to do it for all of the people stricken with Leukemia. Mandi wanted to show all the people stricken with this horrible disease, that you were not alone, someone, somewhere, was working for you to find that one special person who would be a perfect donor match.

I am sadden by the fact that I will never meet Mandi, and the only way to honor her memory and the undeniable strength she had shown was to give a few minutes, to make sure I am registered with the marrow program. Whenever we hear of something so tragic as Mandi's passing, we all wish we could have done something. Well here is your chance to honor her memory. It will only take a few minutes of your time to show Mandi her courage effected more people than she could ever have imagined.

Go to www.marrow.org and hopefully you'll be the reason we never lose another extraordinary woman.

To Mandi's parents, family and friends, our thoughts are with you, I wish with all my heart that there was someway I could ease your pain that you must be feeling. I truly believe that Mandi's story has touched so many lives and while you have lost her, please take some solace in the fact that, she is not gone. Mandi will save thousands, because her story of courage and strength in the face of such an ordeal, will inspire so many to help.

To Mandi, I hope and pray my story was worthy.

Dominick Mezzapesa
e-mail mezz1962@optonline.net
Twitter dmezz1120