College athlete ends career to donate bone marrow

April 23, 2013

"You can't measure life against anything. When you have an opportunity to save someone, you gotta go for it," said Cameron Lyle.

During his sophomore year, Lyle and many other UNH athletes had their mouths swabbed to join the bone marrow registry. Then a few months ago, as he was preparing to finish up his senior season of track, Lyle received a phone call from the National Marrow Donor program. He was a match for someone who desperately needed a donor.

"I said yes immediately. When they said I was a match, they said, "Would you like to proceed? I said absolutely. And then when I hung up the phone I said, "Well I guess athletics are over now," Lyle said.

He is heading to Massachusetts General Hospital on Wednesday morning to begin the donor process.

"Basically they're putting needles in my pelvis between one and two hundred times, taking all the bone marrow out. So I can't lift more than 20 pounds for three to four weeks. It took the whole second half of the season out of play for the championships," he said.

By law, Lyle and the recipient must remain anonymous to each other for at least one year. All he knows about the person receiving his marrow is that he is a 28-year-old man with leukemia. A man Lyle said he is so glad to help and hopes to meet one day.

"I really want to meet him. I hope he wants to meet me too," Lyle said.

Right now the cancer patient to whom he is donating has been given six months to live.

The hope is that Lyle's bone marrow donation could extend his life by at least two more years.

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