On a bright April spring day, more than nine-hundred people came out to Yale University’s Commons in New Haven, Connecticut to sign up to be a bone marrow donor. It’s the hope that someone who was tested today will be a match for Mandi Schwartz, a member of the Yale Women’s Ice Hockey Team.
This is the second such drive for Mandi who was diagnosed with leukemia. Just like last year, this drive was put on by her team members and the Yale Football Team.
Mandi was to have been in attendance at this year’s drive, but learned earlier in the week that her cancer had returned and had to fly back on the day of the drive for treatment in her hometown of Saskatchewan, Canada.
While there were many Yale students and faculty members signing up to be donors at the event, there were many who came from the general population to see if they might be a match.
The great thing about these drives is that if an individual is not a match for Mandi they just might be for someone else.
This “Get in the Game. Save a Life” program was started in 1992 at Villanova by football coach, Andy Talley. Talley’s coaching career began at Simsbury High School in Connecticut in 1967 where he was an assistant coach for two years.
Larry Ciotti (interviewed below) is an 18-year assistant coach at Yale and is a friend of Talley’s. Ciotti helped to set up the first drive last year and the rest is history.
Mandi’s teammates will continue to keep a close watch on her thru emails and letters and phone calls and of course Facebook.
More information on Mandi can also be found her on the Yale Bull Dogs website.
I know how close this team is, I attended last year’s drive for Mandi so I know how much support she has.
I talked with Mandi’s team captain and her coach today and they expressed the feelings of pretty much anyone who knows her and that is that Mandi is a fighter.
If you would like to hold a drive or sign up to be a bone marrow donor you can do so at any time by going to the National Marrow Donor Program Website.