When Cameron Lyle, along with other University of New Hampshire athletes, provided mouth swabs to a bone marrow registry several years ago, they each had about a one-in-five-million chance of being a match for a non-family member.
And so you can imagine Lyle's surprise when he recently heard back from the National Marrow Donor Program. It turns out he was a 100 percent match for a 28-year-old man suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
If Lyle was to donate, he would have to miss the rest of his senior track and field season, including the America East Championships. Lyle had finished fifth and fourth in the shot put in 2012 and 2011, respectively.
But for the 21-year-old, the decision was easy. He is choosing to forego the last few weeks of his career to help a complete stranger.
"He has six months to live and I have the possibility to buy him a couple more years," Lyle told the Eagle-Tribune.
One of the hardest parts of the process fo Lyle was telling his track coach, Jim Boulanger, that his career would be coming to a premature end. But Boulanger was more than understanding.
"I told him, you either do 12 throws at the conference championships, or you give another man a few more years,” Boulanger told the Eagle-Tribune. “It was easy for me."
After the surgery later this month, Lyle will not be able to lift, 20 pounds above his head for a few weeks. The recipient will remain anonymous for at least one year, at which point Lyle and the recipient can choose to reveal their identities.
If Lyle sounds like a true hero to you, you're not the only one.
“He's my hero,” Lyle's mother, Christine Sciacca, said. "I couldn’t be more proud of him and how he’s been so humble about it."