Cameron Lyle, a senior at the University of New Hampshire, passed up a chance to win a Division I gold medal in order to donate bone marrow, reports the Boston Globe. Lyle would have been competitive in the shot put at the Division I America East Conference championships and Penn Relays -- he'd medaled 11 times at the conference level.
During his sophomore year, Lyle participated in the National Marrow Donor Program's "Be the Match" event and got his cheek swabbed. About two months ago, Lyle got a call from the program telling him he was a match. The procedure to donate marrow to cancer patients involved puncturing two or three spots around the hipbone and extracting marrow.
The surgery was scheduled for a month before the end of his college career. Lyle's coach and the director of the UNH track and field program, Jim Boulanger, was supportive of his decision. From the Boston Globe Report:
"I remember he came into my office, closed the door, and said 'Coach, we need to talk.' And then he told me, 'I’m a bone marrow match,'" Boulanger says. "And you know what I told him? Let’s see, 12 throws in Binghamton [host of the conference track and field championship] or save a life? Do it. Donate. Sport is not bigger than life. Sport is a part of life."