Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Only Card I Want This Year

The holiday season brings about many things: the exchanging of gifts, the baking of delicious treats, the amazing dinners, the get-togethers with friends and family, and the giving of Christmas cards. If you know me outside of this screen, you know that I'm not particularly fond of cards in any form: birthday, anniversary, report, et cetera. However, this Christmas there is one card that I do want, and it has a very important message behind it.

The card above features Mandi Schwartz, and you probably have heard her story before. If you haven't heard about Mandi, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in December 2008 during her junior year at Yale University. After treatment saw her cancer go into remission, she returned to school in January 2010 with plans to dominate the NCAA hockey scene. Unfortunately, the cancer returned and she took time off once more to battle the disease. Mandi sadly passed away at home in Saskatchewan in April 2011 at the tender age of 23.

Mandi was a fantastic hockey player who suited up for the Notre Dame Hounds in Saskatchewan before accepting a scholarship to Yale University. She was expected to challenge for a roster spot on Team Canada once her NCAA career ended, but that dream was put on hold when leukemia struck. Her fiancé, Kaylem Prefontaine, had proposed to her and they had planned for a wedding in the summer of 2012. Mandi, who never let the smile disappear from her face, battled the disease bravely, even showing up to greet her brother at the Regina airport after he returned from the World Junior Championships in Buffalo in 2011. Jaden, who broke his ankle during the tournament, hugged his sister tightly, placing his silver medal around her neck as they embraced.

Thanks to Upper Deck, Mandi's legacy as a star hockey player will live on, but the motivation for the card was much deeper than just honoring the player.

"Mandi was a hockey player and a motivational teammate, but more than that, she was an exceptional person," said Aleca Hughes, former teammate and co-founder of the Mandi Schwartz Foundation. "Her character was fundamentally kind and compassionate, and for that reason, Mandi's story has transcended beyond the hockey community and those who had the pleasure of knowing her. Mandi's legacy continues to inspire humanity and we hope her Upper Deck card will remind athletes and sports fans the responsibility we all have to give back."

From the Upper Deck release,
What makes these cards so special of course is that they contain actual swatches from one of Mandi Schwartz’s game-worn jerseys. Mandi’s parents donated the blue Yale jersey to help bring these unique collectibles to life. Upper Deck intentionally short printed the game-worn jersey cards available in packs however and is making the lion's share of them available to be sold through The Mandi Schwartz Foundation. The game-patch cards can only be found in packs and are limited to just 15 total copies.
I'll be honest when I tell you that I am going to donate whatever amount of money is necessary to get me one of these cards. I didn't know Mandi personally, but her character, determination, and positive attitude are traits that everyone should have. That fact that she continued to embrace everyday with her positivity while staring down a horrible disease is a testament to her strong will and character.

While supporting Upper Deck by buying their packs of hockey cards is fine, I'm far more interested in helping the Mandi Schwartz Foundation directly. Fifteen cards in millions of packs of hockey cards does make them extremely rare, so best of luck in finding one if that the route you'd like to take. However, if you'd like to help the Mandi Schwartz Foundation directly, head over to the website. There isn't any info posted about how to acquire a card just yet, but you definitely need to get one once the information is posted.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Anonymous said...

I was currious to know who wrote this? Can you leave a name and maybe I can help you out.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to get the name of who wrote this article?

Teebz said...

I wrote the article. If you're going to offer to sell me a card, don't bother. I'd rather help the Mandi Schwartz Foundation. I have already been in contact with them, and I am excited to work with them.