Or he could be a her. When doctors give you two months to live, you'll take a man, woman or even an unborn baby.
Mandi has leukemia. So do a lot of other people, none of whom deserve the brutal disease. But when you get to know her story, it really makes you wonder why.
Mandi's only 22. She goes to Yale, where she plays hockey. She's engaged to her high school sweetheart. Her younger brother Jaden is expected to be an early-round pick in this month's NHL Draft.
To be a Schwartz is to be an achiever. Mandi's done so much that people get choked up just thinking about her.
"I don't even know how to say it. She's the kind of person you strive to be," said Alyssa Clarke, a Yale teammate. "I don't think you could meet a better person."
That's why saving a girl from a small town on the Canadian prairie is becoming an international crusade. There's a bone-marrow donor out there. The healing cells could also be in the womb of an expectant mother.
If only they can find her.
"The waiting is the hardest part," Clarke said.
Truth is, every part is hard. Mandi is in a hospital in Regina, Saskatchewan. She spent 130 days there in 2008 after first being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. They hoped five chemotherapy treatments would cure her, but the cancer returned last December.
"You have very bad days," Dr. Tedd Collins said. "And days that aren't so bad turn into very good days."
What makes for a good day?
"Mandi doesn't vomit all day," Collins said. "That's a good day."
He knows those days all too well. Collins' daughter, Natasha, was a Yale medical student who died of leukemia last year.
Like Mandi, her mixed heritage made it harder to find a suitable donor.
That inspired her father, a clinical immunologist, to head the search for stem-cell donors. The cells come from the blood in the umbilical cord, which is usually disposed of after delivery.
The hunt is also on for a bone-marrow donor. Brennan Turner, a family friend and minor-league hockey player, has organized eight registration drives across Canada in the next five weeks.
There have also been fundraisers, thousands of e-mails and a Facebook campaign. All for a girl who's hooked to a breathing machine and wondering one thing.
No, it's not "why me?"
"She wonders why people are doing all this for me?" said her father, Rick Schwartz.
There are a lot of reasons. Mandi's Ivy-League smart. She's hockey tough. She's apparently never said a bad thing about anybody. And despite those reasons she remains the kind of person who wonders why people think she's anything special.
When Mandi returned to Yale after her first trip through cancer hell, she immediately tried to skate, lift weights and train just like her teammates.
"This girl had gone through so much, but she wasn't going to ease her way back into it," Clarke said. "She didn't want to waste a day. That was really inspirational to all of us."
The second cancer go-round has been worse. Keeping food down has been a constant fight. Lately, she's been battling pneumonia. She's hooked up to tubes and often unable or just too weak to talk.
Despite that, she's managed to write thank-you notes and congratulation cards to friends who are graduating.
"She doesn't put herself first, that's for sure," Turner said.
Mandi has a card waiting for Jaden, who graduates from Notre Dame high school on June 19. Another brother, Rylan, plays hockey for Colorado College.
Rick or his wife, Carol, have been at Mandi's bedside around the clock. The family long ago memorized the 30-mile drive from their home in Wilcox. But the parents didn't want their sons visiting Mandi when she was in intensive care.
"We try not to show the boys the hard part of it," Rick said. "We tell them, 'Just keep doing what you're doing. We'll look after Mandi.' "
She's engaged to Kaylem Prefontaine (picture right) They met at Notre Dame, which boasts hockey alumni like Vincent Lecavalier, Curtis Joseph and Rod Brind'Amour. The wedding date is one of the hostages of the ticking clock.
It seems everybody associated with Notre Dame and much of the province has been tested to see if they could donate bone marrow. All it takes is cheek swab, which is why it's hard to fathom why anyone wouldn't want to get on the donation registry.
Finding a match is harder for minorities and people of mixed heritage or racial makeup. Rick is of German descent and his wife is Ukrainian and Russian.
Jaden came closest to meeting the donor criteria with a 7-out-of-10 DNA match. That's not nearly close enough. Collins explained that even a 9-out-of-10 match can cause havoc.
"When you have a partially matched cell, it can realize it's not in the person it came out of," he said. "It will think, 'Okay, this must be a tumor or cancer. Let's kill it.'"
The risk of rejection is much less with the umbilical cord donation. The blood has stem cells that can mature into any type of cell. Researchers are quickly discovering the value of cord blood, but registering mothers and storing the blood still lags far behind the science.
Collins has two websites dedicated to the cause -- http://natashasplace.org and http://www.becomemandishero.net. No stem-cell donors have been found, but a bone-marrow donor in Germany has a 9 out of 10 match.
"I don't know the odds of a 9 out of 10," Rick said. "I don't even want to think about it."
If nothing better comes along, they'll take their chances. But they'd sure rather take them with a stem-cell transplant.
"The donor's out there," Collins said. "Over the next 60 days there are probably 2,000 women having babies who could cure her."
"She's realistic about her chances," Turner said. "But by us pushing so hard, it gives her a little more hope and little more positive energy."
Look at it this way. If somebody is a bone-marrow match for Mandi, in a way they would become her. I don't know about you, but I'd be thrilled to have that girl's future.
Or if you're an expectant mother, this is a chance to give birth to two lives. It's not every day you get to be a hero and save one, too.