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Cameron Lyle, University of New Hampshire Track Athlete, Gives Up Career To Donate Bone Marrow For Leukemia Patient

By Staff Reporter - Posted: 04/23/13 02:45PM EDT
Cameron Lyle

Cameron Lyle, senior track and field athlete at the University of New Hampshire, ended his collegiate athletic career early in order to donate bone marrow to an anonymous recipient. (Photo: University of New Hampshire)

Since the tragic events in Boston, the only news we have heard lately is bad news. A story coming out of New Hampshire will hopefully change that.

Cameron Lyle, a senior track and field athlete from the University of New Hampshire, will miss the rest of his career after deciding to donate bone marrow to an anonymous donor later this month.

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Back in his sophomore year of college, Lyle along with other UNH athletes participated in a drive on campus to join the national bone marrow registry. After having his mouth swabbed, Lyle did not think anything of the event and went about his collegiate career on the track team, throwing the discus, shot put and hammer.

It wasn't until Lyle received a phone call from National Marrow Donor Program a few months ago that things started to change. They informed him during that initial phone call that he was a possible match for someone. A few weeks later, the organization called back and told Cameron that he was a 100 percent match. Lyle decided that he would donate his bone marrow which ended his career at New Hampshire.

"They told me it was a one in five million chance of me being a match for a non-family member," Lyle told the Eagle Tribune. "They gave me the timeline and everything's been moving quickly after that."

After Lyle has the surgery, he will not be able to lift 20 pounds over his head for a few weeks. With that limitation, Cameron will be not able to throw the discus, hammer and shot put. He was scheduled to compete in two more meets this season including the America East championship. But Lyle knew the decision he would make.

"I knew right away I was definitely going to donate. I was pretty terrified at first but it is starting to settle in."

Lyle's bone marrow will be going to a 28-year-old male who is suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Lyle and the anonymous recipient must remain unknown to one another due to law.

"He has six months to live and I have the possibility to buy him a couple of more years," said Lyle about the recipient of his bone marrow.  

The toughest person Lyle had to tell about his decision was his track and field coach at New Hampshire Jim Boulanger.

"I felt like I was walking into the principal's office had done something wrong," Lyle thought about telling his coach. Much to Lyle's happiness, his coach was behind him.

"I told him, you either do 12 throws at the conference championships, or you give another man a few more years," Boulanger said. "It was easy for me."

The surgery is set for April 24 and Lyle is ready. His mother, Christine Sciacca, will be going with him to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for the procedure. Lyle looks forward to possibly meeting the man he is helping.

"I'd love to meet him some day," Lyle said. "He's not that much older than myself. I just can't imagine what he's going through."



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