EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

January 1, 2014

One in a million

Plaistow, N.H. native donated bone marrow and stopped track career short to save man with rare leukemia he didn't know

Cameron Lyle didn’t mean to be a hero. He simply wanted to be the best shotputter he could be.

“I love throwing the shot put,” said the 22-year-old Lyle, who graduated from the University of New Hampshire last May. “I just love the sport.”

But, the 22-year-old now understands better than anyone that life is much more important than sports.

The Plaistow, N.H. native, former Timberlane Regional track star and now 2013 Eagle-Tribune Sportsman of the Year, not only donated bone marrow to someone he didn’t know, but he had to miss the final track championship meet of his life, the America East Track & Field Championships, to do it.

“The funny thing is that was going to be the biggest meet of my life,” recalled Lyle, of the event at Binghamton University in Vestal, N.Y. “I was the No. 1 seed (in the shot put). I was in the best shape of my life. It was, hopefully, going to be my first gold medal after winning a lot of silvers, seven to be exact.”

But three weeks before the meet “Be The Match” came calling, two years after he attended a UNH football team-sponsored event, in which they took a mouth swab to find potential bone marrow donors.

“All of the coaches told their athletes,” said Lyle. “I didn’t really think anything about it. It was pretty easy. They took a swab from inside my mouth and it was over.”

So he thought.

In April of 2013, more than two years after the innocent “swab,” Lyle was contacted by “Be The Match.”

“I honestly had forgotten about it,” said Lyle. “Someone from the registry told me I was a possible match for this particular person. It was me and two other people. And I was the youngest by about 15 or 20 years.”

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