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College athlete skips championship to donate bone marrow

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   April 23, 2013 at 1:09 PM   |   Comments

April 23 (UPI) -- When Cameron Lyle found out he was a rare match for a bone marrow transplant, he had a choice to make. He could finish up his senior season of track at the University of New Hampshire, or he could give the season up and save someone’s life.

“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.”

Lyle had his mouth swabbed during his sophomore year, and athletes were encouraged to join the bone marrow registry. A few months ago he received a call from the National Marrow Donor Program telling him there was a possibility of being a match, and a few weeks ago it was determined he was a 100 percent match.

“They told me it was a one in 5 million chance of me being a match for a non-family member,” Lyle said. “They gave me the timeline and everything’s been moving quickly after that.”

Lyle will be donating his bone marrow April 24 to an anonymous 28-year-old male suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. After the surgery, Lyle will not be able to lift more than 20 pounds over his head for a few weeks, putting the discus, hammer and shot put out of his reach. Lyle will miss the final two meets of his career, including the America East Championships.

“He’s my hero,” said Christine Sciacca, Lyle's mother. “I don’t know of many 21-year-olds who would give up their last year of track to help another human.”

“I’d love to meet him some day,” Lyle said. By law, Lyle and the recipient must remain anonymous to each other for one year. “He’s not that much older than myself. I just can’t imagine what he’s going through.”

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