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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

(Continued)

Lyle went to a local lab near the UNH campus in Dover, N.H. for additional blood work. Two weeks or so later, he got the news.

“I was a perfect match,” said Lyle. “I was shocked.”

Next came the tough part.

He also had to tell his track coach, Jim Boulanger, about his dilemma with the conference meet coming soon.

“Cam is usually full of life, but this day he came into my office with a look on his face, like something was wrong,” recalled Boulanger. “He said, ‘We gotta close the door.’ I was thinking he got busted for drinking and had to be suspended.”

Lyle told Boulanger he wouldn’t be able to compete the rest of the season.

“He told me there was a one-in-five million chance that there would be a match for this young man who had a rare form of leukemia and that he was a perfect match,” said Boulanger. “He was all nervous about what to do. I told him there was only one answer: ‘You’ve got to give the man your bone marrow. You’ve spent your entire life competing. This is a chance to save someone’s life.’”

Lyle was apprehensive about telling his teammates, all of whom had taken a pledge a month earlier to improve the fortunes of the program.

Of course, they were all behind Lyle, which included a special moment during the last throw of his last meet at Stony Brook (N.Y.) University on April 20, 2013. The entire men’s and women’s team surrounded Lyle for his final shot put attempt of his career.

“It was incredible,” recalled Boulanger. “It was a true sign of the support he had from everyone.”

While he had committed mentally, now came the really hard part.

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