College Athlete Puts Aside Sports Goals to Help Save Stranger’s Life

The 21-year-old must miss the close of track season to donate bone marrow to someone he's never met.

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University of New Hampshire shot put star Cameron Lyle.
UNH Athletic Media Relations

University of New Hampshire shot put star Cameron Lyle.

Cameron Lyle, a senior at the University of New Hampshire where he throws the discus, hammer and shot put, is placing his athletic endeavors on hold to be a bone marrow donor.

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The 21-year-old had his mouth swabbed during his sophomore year as part of a university drive to boost potential donors in the national bone marrow registry. A few months ago, he got the call that would change his life forever.

Lyle was a 100% match — a one in four million chance — with a patient who only has six months left to live. “I knew right away I was definitely going to donate,” he told the Massachusetts Eagle Tribune. “I was pretty terrified at first, but it is starting to settle in.”

The procedure meant, however, that he would be unable to lift more than 20 pounds over his head for a few weeks, which would prevent him from taking part in the final two meets of the year, including the America East Championships, where he was hoping to throw shot put.

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“Basically they’re putting needles in my pelvis between one and two hundred times, taking all the bone marrow out,” he told WESH Orlando. “It took the whole second half of the season out of play for the championships.” All Lyle knows about the recipient is that he’s 28 years old and suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “I would love to give him a shot [at] a second chance,” he told CBS Boston.

U.S. law requires that donors and recipients remain anonymous for at least one year. Afterwards, both will have the choice of signing consent forms to reveal their identities. “I’d love to meet him some day,” Lyle said to the Daily Mail.

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