Cameron Lyle was a 21-year-old track and field star at the University of New Hampshire when he received a call that would change his life.
He had registered to be a bone marrow donor two years previously and was told that the chances that he would be a match were extremely small.
However, he was a match, for a 28-year-old man who he’d never met, who had been given just months to live.
Cameron didn’t think twice about donating, and his decision changed both of their lives forever.
Cameron had joined the bone marrow registry during his sophomore year, but hadn’t thought much of it since then.
“I swabbed for ‘Be The Match’. I went with a couple of friends, took 10 minutes, filled some paperwork, swabbed a cheek,” he tells NCAA.
The chances of being a match for someone are extremely small, so Cameron was blown away when he received a call 2 years later saying that he was a match. All they could tell him about the potential recipient was that he was a 28 year old man with leukemia who had been given just months to live. Cameron didn’t think twice before agreeing to donate.
Bone marrow donation is a long and complicated procedure and is often tough on the donor. An average patient needs 5-10 cubic centimeters of marrow, however, Cameron’s recipient needed 1800 cubic centimeters.
But luckily, both Cameron and his recipient recovered well following the procedure. Cameron even received a heartfelt letter from the man he had saved.
“I got a really powerful card from him. It was dated the day that he received the marrow, so he wrote it still not knowing if he was gonna’ live or not,” Cameron says.
End of his athletic career
Cameron’s actions didn’t just have a life-changing impact on his recipient, it also changed his own life forever. When Cameron agreed to donate, he was nearing the end of his athletic season and his final campionships. Donating bone marrow put a stop to his campionship ambitions.
“I went to tell my coach and then I realized slowly that my season was over,” cameron tells ABC News.
But of course, everybody around Cameron was extremely supportive of his selfless act. As his coach James Boulander puts it: “Throwing a 16lb metal object as far as you can – nice! Helping somebody live – totally different. Priceless.”
And Cameron’s decision had a bigger impact than he could have imagined. Not only did he save this recipient’s life, but he inspired others to go out and register as potential donors, too.
“So many people went out and got swabbed when my story came out. The numbers doubled in a week,” Cameron explains.
“It really starts with you wanting to help someone. There’s not enough of that right now, people helping people. There’s a bigger picture out there than just you.”
See Cameron talk about his experience in the clip below: