Of Loss and Life

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Apr 4, 2011

by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com

My heart goes out to the family of Mandi Schwartz.

Parents Rick and Carol.  Brothers Jaden and Rylan.  Fiance, Kalem Prefontaine.  Please accept my deepest condolences.  I truly hope you find the courage and strength to persevere through this unimaginable pain.

My eyes welled with tears this morning at the story of a life snuffed out.  A vibrant, valiant, athletic, well-loved 23-year-old girl who fought and battled til she had nothing left.  Mandi died yesterday
morning after a two-year battle with leukemia.

I first heard about Mandi’s struggle a few years ago.  Her story was conveyed by her brother Jaden, a member of Canada’s World Junior hockey team.  The strong family bond was evident from the get-go.

She was so deeply cherished.

The line in the article that I keep hearing in my mind is this:  “The Schwartz family fought hard for her survival.”

Mandi’s parents took a leave from their respective jobs to support their daughter through treatment in both Canada and the U.S.   They scoured the continent and beyond for a stem cell transplant to help her fight the aggressive blood and bone marrow cancer that she was first diagnosed with.   The Saskatchewan native, forward for the Yale Bulldogs and former student at Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Sask., was in remission but relapsed in April 2009.

A stem cell transplant in September at the University of Washington Medical Center could not fight off the cancer.

Mandi was to be married in the summer of 2012.

How horrifying to lose a child, at any age.  The Schwartz family did everything they could for their daughter.

Life is too short.  Most of us know it, some of us say it, few of us
live it…..until it’s too late.  What’s worse is we all take it for
granted.  Stories like this really hit home the importance of those
things most dear to us and how it is up to each of us as parents,
daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, whatever to live for the moment.

A few years ago, I began practicing this in my own life on a more
consistent basis.  Find your passion, follow it through, don’t put off til tomorrow what you can do today, live without regrets.  This is my mantra.  It’s not always easy, but it is important.

As they say, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why we call it the present.”    Mandi’ suffering is finally over.  Her family’s pain will never heal.

It appears Mandi made the most of her time here, with her family by her side.  Something we should all marvel at.



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