Cameron Lyle. A name none of you may know, but one who impressed me immensely this last week in a piece of news I stumbled across on the internet.
Lyle is 21 years old. Two years ago, when he volunteered to have his mouth swabbed to join a bone marrow registry at his school’s cafeteria, he had no idea of any future implication it might have on his life and sporting career. He was told “there was a one in five million chance for a non-family match.”
When the call came that he was a match for someone dying from leukemia who would otherwise likely have less than six months to live, he decided straight away that it was a no brainer. In fact, when he realised this would put an end to his college athletic career [Cameron was a Division I athlete, focusing on shot putt and the hammer throw] he was the most nervous about breaking the news to his coach, Jim Boulanger, who had been his coach for four years:
“Here’s the deal,” Boulanger told Lyle. “You go to the conference and take 12 throws or you could give a man three or four more years of life. I don’t think there’s a big question here. This is not a moral dilemma. There’s only one answer.”
Boulanger said he’s “very proud” of his athlete.
This story reminded me how frustrated, and if I’m honest, angry I get at people who choose not to donate blood without any tangible reasoning. I have a friend who faints almost every time she gives; my mom who has often been turned away after having her finger pricked [by far the worst part] because she is unable to give on that occasion due to iron levels or blood pressure… And yet they both keep going. “I don’t get around to it,” “I don’t want to” and “I’m scared of needles” don’t seem to hold that much weight as arguments when you are comparing them to, “Someone may die.”
Whether it’s blood donating or bone marrow [which as far as I can recall is an extremely painful procedure] or even a kidney, may the story of Cameron inspire us in the right direction as to how we can get involved in other peoples’ lives for good.