Track and Field Star Cameron Lyle Ends Career to Donate Bone Marrow

Wednesday, 24 Apr 2013 11:21 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A University of New Hampshire shot put star is being hailed as a hero after he decided to end his track and field career early so he can donate bone marrow to a man with leukemia he's never met before.

Cameron Lyle, 21, of Plaistow, N.H., registered as a bone marrow donor along with the rest of his teammates two years ago when he was a sophomore. Lyle, now a senior, didn't think much of it until a few weeks ago when he got a phone call informing him he was a 100 percent match for a 28-year-old man with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who was given six months to live. The odds of a non-family member being that close of a match was "one in 5 million," Lyle said.

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The problem was that, if Lyle chose to donate, he would not be able to compete in the final two meets of his collegiate career, including the America East Championships, as he would not be able to life more than 20 pounds after the surgery to remove his bone marrow. Still, Lyle said the decision was a no-brainer.

"He has six months to live and I have the possibility to buy him a couple more years. I knew right away I was definitely going to donate," Lyle told the Eagle Tribune. "I was pretty terrified at first, but it is starting to settle in."

Christine Sciacca, Lyle's mother, was brought to tears when her son told her of his plans to donate.

"He’s my hero. I couldn’t be more proud of him and how he’s been so humble about it," she told the Tribune. "I don’t know of many 21-year-olds who would give up their last year of track to help another human."

With the surgery scheduled for Wednesday, Lyle was nervous to tell his coach the news, but Jim Boulanger completely understood.

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

Though by law Lyle and his recipient must remain anonymous for one year after the donation, Lyle hopes to meet the 28-year-old in the future.

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"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."

Related stories:

Bone Marrow Donors Should Be Compensated

Robin Roberts Announces Return to 'GMA' Following Bone Marrow Transplant

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