Greater Chesapeake & Potomac Region
Brian Boyle, Iron Heart
“Since 2007, I have worked very closely with the American Red Cross. It has been a true honor for me to volunteer, take part in their testimonial speaking engagements and blood drives and to proudly wear their logo on my race suits during my triathlon and running events. I lost 60% of my blood at the scene of my accident, and Red Cross blood donors provided the blood that I needed to stay alive. As my treatment progressed, blood donors were a vital factor in my recovery and journey back into life.
Blood is needed for emergencies like mine, and for people undergoing treatment for cancer, those with chronic blood disorders, premature babies, people in need of surgery and many others. For the nearly 5 million people who receive blood transfusions every year, your blood donation can help save a life. I am living proof of this.
When I needed it, the American Red Cross was there with 36 blood transfusions and 13 plasma treatments that saved my life in a situation where time was of the essence. Volunteer blood donors made this possible. By giving just a little bit of their time, blood donors helped give me the chance at a lifetime.
On behalf of the many patients like me who you have given a second chance, a heartfelt thank you to all Red Cross blood donors.”
- Brian Boyle
Brian Boyle's blood donation public service announcement with music courtesy of:
The story of Brian Boyle, Iron Heart:
It was a horrific car crash on 4th of July weekend, 2004. On the way home from swim practice, 18-year-old Brian Boyle’s future changed in an instant when a dump truck plowed into his vehicle. He was airlifted to a shock-trauma hospital. Brian had lost sixty percent of his blood, his heart had moved across his chest, and his organs and pelvis were pulverized. Brian actually died 8 times during his treatment and recovery. He recalls a priest reading him his last rights. Because of the severe pain and injuries, Brian was placed in a medically-induced coma. When he finally emerged from the coma two months later, Brian had no memory of the accident. He could see and hear, but not move or talk. Unable to communicate to his doctors, nurses, or frantic parents, Brian heard words like “vegetable” and “nursing home.”
If Brian lived, doctors predicted that he might not be able to walk again, and certainly would not swim. The former swimmer and bodybuilder had lost one hundred pounds. Miraculously, Brian defied all laws of medicine and logic and he clawed his way back to the living. First blinking his eyelids, then squeezing a hand, then smiling, he emerged from his locked-in state. Against all predictions, Brian Boyle crossed the finish line at the 2007 Hawaii Ironman just three years after leaving the Intensive Care Unit. “Not since Lance Armstrong has an American athlete been so celebrated for dodging death and competing again,” noted The Washington Post.
Brian next competed in the 2008 Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, Florida and Men’s Health magazine named Boyle one of its twenty heroes. In 2009, he published his first book, Iron Heart, a firsthand account of his journey back to life. Brian then hosted and attended a series of Iron Heart blood drives with more than 1,000 participants. Brian attended these blood drives to meet and thank each participant and provide them with a signed copy of his book, Iron Heart. He also made his very first blood donation at the hospital that brought him back to life: Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly, MD. Off the race course, Brian was presented the Regional spokesperson of the year award from the American Red Cross for his ongoing support of blood donations.
To celebrate the 5 year anniversary of his recovery, Brian competed in five marathons back to back in a little over five weeks in 2009: Baltimore, Marine Corps, New York, Richmond and Philadelphia. During every race, Brian proudly wore the American Red Cross logo as a tribute to the blood donors that helped to save his life. In 2010, Brian graduated Cum Laude from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He was awarded the American Red Cross Regional Spokesperson of the Year award for the second year in a row for 2010. Brian qualified for the 2011 Ironman World Championships 70.3 that were held in September of 2011 at Lake Las Vegas, and he finished in the top third out of more than 1,500 competitors from around the world.
Currently, Iron Heart public service announcements featuring the songs Time is Precious and Down, courtesy of 311, are available for media outlets, including radio and television stations. The Iron Heart PSAs were created to raise awareness about blood donations and encourage people to schedule a Red Cross blood donation.
"Brian once told us that our music inspired him to do great things. We're proud to lend our music for this special cause and to help share Brian's message in a unique way," said Nick Hexum of 311.
Brian’s story has been featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, NBC’s The Today Show, ESPN, Maryland Public Television’s Outdoors Maryland and several other regional news segments with Comcast, NBC, Fox and CBS. Brian’s story has also been shared in Runner’s World, Muscle and Fitness Magazine, Planet Muscle Magazine, The Los Angeles Times and The Baltimore Sun; amongst many others. Recently, Brian was featured in The Washington Post and USA Today. His journey of courage and determination has touched the hearts of many and his story and the message it carries has been celebrated around the world.
Brian's book, Iron Heart- the paperback edition is now available in stores and online.
Please call 1-800-RED CROSS today.
Very special thanks to:
Brian Boyle for his continued support of the Red Cross:
311 for generously providing tunes for the Iron Heart project:
"311 fan Brian Boyle has a miraculous story of recovery and triumph. He credits 311's music and message for inspiring his journey from the death bed to iron man tri-athlete! 311 proudly lends their songs "Time is Precious" and "Down" to Brian's campaign at Red Cross to help create awareness about the importance of blood donation."
- from 311, via facebook:
Chopper Brad Freitas for the video spot production:
Clear Channel Radio of D.C. and MD for their ongoing support of the Red Cross:
Flounder, DC’s premiere mash-up DJ, for the radio spot production:
Maryland Public Televison for providng the Outdoors Maryland special segment:
And Red Cross blood donors everywhere for giving patients like Brian a second chance:
Brian Boyle in Outdoors Maryland