UNH athlete ends career to donate bone marrow

Published On April 23, 2013 | By Kimberly Petalas

Cameron Lyle, a University of New Hampshire athlete, had to make a decision. He could either finish his senior season of track, or donate bone marrow to save a life.

Lyle decided to end his athletic career and will be donating his bone marrow to an anonymous recipient tomorrow, according to the Eagle Tribune. Since you cannot do any extraneous activity after donating, Lyle will have to miss the final two track meets of his career, including the America East Championships.

“I knew right away I was definitely going to donate,” said Lyle. “I was pretty terrified at first, but it is starting to settle in.”

Lyle had joined the bone marrow registry during his sophomore year, when many UNH athletes were being encouraged to join.

After joining the registry, Lyle almost forgot about it, until a few months ago when he received a phone call from the National Marrow Donor Program telling him he was possibly a match. Just a few weeks ago, the news was more clear. 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’s donation will be going to a 28-year-old male who is suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. By law, Lyle and the recipient must remain anonymous to each other for one year.

“He has six months to live and I have the possibility to buy him a couple more years,” Lyle said.

Lyle’s mother, Christine Sciacca  said tears came to her eyes when she heard what her son would be doing.

“He’s my hero,” Sciacca said. “I couldn’t be more proud of him and how he’s been so humble about it.”

Lyle said he was nervous when he had to tell his coach what he was doing. Fortunately, coach Jim Boulanger completely understood when Lyle told him.

“I told him, you either do 12 throws at the conference championships, or you give another man a few more years,” Boulanger said. “It was easy for me.”

But it’s been a lot tougher for Sciacca.

“It’s been painful,” she said. “I don’t know of many 21-year-olds who would give up their last year of track to help another human.”

Lyle and the recipient will be able to anonymously keep in contact for a year, until they both have the choice to sign consent forms to reveal their identities.

“I’d love to meet him some day,” Lyle said. “He’s not that much older than myself. I just can’t imagine what he’s going through.”

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About The Author

Kimberly graduated from Hofstra University in December 2012. She has been a sports fan her whole life and grew up around sports, whether it was playing or watching them. She started her writing career interning for her local newspaper, The Gardner News, where she currently works as a reporter. In college, Kimberly wrote for Long Island Report, as well as Her Campus Hofstra.