Cameron Lyle’s mom, Christine Sciacca said, ““He’s my hero. I couldn’t be more proud of him and how he’s been so humble about it.”
21-year-old Cameron Lyle, of Plaistow, Massachusetts, made a life altering decision last month. He decided to give up his last season as an athlete at the University of New Hampshire to have the opportunity to save a complete stranger’s life. As a senior, the final two meets of the season will also be the last two of his career. But as the Eagle Tribune reports, Lyle has decided to forgo finishing out his track season to donate bone marrow to an “anonymous recipient” who would die without it.
Lyle, who had his mouth swabbed his sophomore year when he registered for the bone marrow registry, didn’t really think much of what he had decided to do until he received a phone call from the National Marrow Donor Program. They told him there was a possibility that he was a match. A few weeks ago another call came in and this time it was for sure, Lyle was a 100% match for a 28-year-old man dying from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He said, “They told me it was a one in 5 million chance of me being a match for a non-family member,” and that the decision to donate was a “no-brainer.” He explained to the Tribune, “I knew right away I was definitely going to donate. I was pretty terrified at first, but it is starting to settle in … They gave me the timeline and everything’s been moving quickly after that.”
Lyle won’t be able to lift anything over 20 pounds for a while after the surgery, which means no discus, hammer throw, or shot put. But he’s not worried about it. Lyle said, “He has six months to live and I have the possibility to buy him a couple more years.” That knowledge however, didn’t make it easier for Lyle to tell his coach. He said, “I felt like I was walking into the principal’s office and I had done something wrong.” But Jim Boulanger understood immediately when Lyle told him what he had decided. Boulanger said, “I told him, you either do 12 throws at the conference championships, or you give another man a few more years … It was easy for me.”
Lyle and the recipient must, by law, remain anonymous to each other for one year. But they can keep in touch through the donor program and after the year they can chose to sign consent forms which would allow the program to reveal their identities. Lyle said, ““I’d love to meet him some day. He’s not that much older than myself. I just can’t imagine what he’s going through.”