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UNH Senior Cameron Lyle Ends Collegiate Track Career to Make Life-Saving Bone Marrow Donation

Cameron Lyle (Photo: Cameron Lyle)

Cameron Lyle (Photo: Cameron Lyle)

A University of New Hampshire senior is ending his collegiate track and field career in order to make a life-saving bone marrow donation to a stranger suffering from an aggressive cancer.

Cameron Lyle, an accomplished athlete in the shot put and hammer throw for the UNH Wildcats, placed his name on a bone marrow registry two years ago. There was about a one-in-five-million chance that he would be called upon to donate, but that’s exactly what happened about a month ago when a representative from the National Marrow Donor Program contacted him and informed him that a 28-year-old man suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia only had about six months to live unless he received a transplant.

“My first reaction was ‘yes’ when they told me on the phone,” Lyle, who hails from Plaistow, New Hampshire, told the New Hampshire Union Leader. “After that, I did think about what I was giving up. But the kid who has leukemia has it a lot worse than me. This kid is dying.”

What Lyle is giving up is the culmination of his collegiate career. The America East Track and Field Championships are next month, and after donating marrow, Lyle won’t be able to compete in his final meets.

“I tried to put it back,” Lyle said of his donation date, “but the timetable is pretty strict. [The recipient] needs it now.”

‘Now’ is Wednesday; the procedure will be performed at Mass General Hospital in Boston.

Lyle has no idea who’s receiving his life-saving donation, nor is he permitted to divulge his identity to the lucky patient. After a year, the two men can authorize consent releases if they want to learn each other’s identities.

The talented athlete says the decision was a “no-brainer.”

“He could have been waiting years for a match,” Lyle said of the recipient in an interview with ABC News. “I’d hope that someone would donate to me if I needed it.”

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