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April 26, 2013

Bone marrow donor on road to recovery

UNH athlete recovers from bone marrow donation

PLAISTOW — When Cameron Lyle woke up Tuesday morning, he was stunned.

Lyle, a Plaistow resident, looked at his phone and saw message after message from unknown numbers on his cell phone.

The 21-year-old has had a whirlwind couple of days, capped off Wednesday when he underwent surgery to remove bone marrow to help an anonymous recipient, who has life-threatening leukemia.

“It’s been overwhelming for sure,” Lyle said yesterday. “I still have about 20 voicemails to listen to on my phone.”

The college senior didn’t hesitate last month when faced with the decision to trade the end of his collegiate athletic career for a chance to extend a stranger’s life.

Lyle’s story went viral after he made the decision to skip the final few track meets of his senior year at the University of New Hampshire to donate his bone marrow to a man who has only been given months to live.

At the beginning of the year, Lyle hoped to compete in the season’s biggest tournament, the America East Championships, May 4 and 5. Lyle finished in the top five in the shot put at last year’s tournament.

This year, his final at UNH, he will have to miss it as he recovers from his surgery.

Leading up to his surgery, he received messages of support from strangers who were fascinated by his story.

“It’s been really cool,” Lyle said. “Even Lance Armstrong tweeted at me with support.”

Lyle also received a tweet from U.S. Olympian shot putter Ryan Whiting. Former UNH hockey player James van Riemsdyk tweeted out the article. He also spoke on the phone to a track coach from Nebraska, who had heard his story.

He also has been flooded by media requests. After the story first appeared in The Eagle-Tribune Monday, Lyle said every major national news outlet contacted him. ESPN went to UNH and interviewed him for 45 minutes for a future in-depth feature on him, he said.

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