Posts Tagged ‘recovery

24
Jul
12

Red Cross Volunteer Brian Boyle up for International Humanitarian Award. Vote for him online

National Red Cross volunteer and blood recipient/donor Brian Boyle is a nominee for the “Volunteer of the Year” category of the Classy Awards, an international awards program which highlights charitable work around the world. Brian was nominated for his strong support of the American Red Cross blood program, promoting blood donation and as a speaker, author, and athlete.

Brian Boyle does not take one day for granted. A horrific car crash in 2004 almost claimed his life and Brian literally died eight times during his recovery. His heart moved across his chest, and all major organs were damaged. When he emerged from a medically-induced coma, doctors predicted he might never walk again. But after multiple surgeries, 36 blood transfusions, 13 plasma treatments and physical therapy, Brian walked.

Just three years after leaving ICU, he staged one of the greatest comebacks crossing the finish line at the Hawaii Ironman. In part, Brian credits his recovery to blood donors who helped him beat the odds after he lost 60% of his blood in the accident. He wears the American Red Cross logo when he competes to thank those who donated blood for him. Only a small percentage of people donate blood and Brian wants to change that.

Since 2007, he has worked closely with the Red Cross as a volunteer spokesperson. In an effort to raise awareness about the need for blood, Brian shares his lifesaving story through media interviews, public service announcements and high profile speaking engagements.

In 2009 & 2010, Brian was presented the “Regional Spokesperson of the Year” award from the Red Cross. During that time, he published a memoir entitled, Iron Heart, graduated from college with honors and made his first blood donation. Brian received the 2011 American Red Cross Presidential Award for Excellence for all he has done to increase blood donations on a national level.

Brian has also hosted dozens of blood drives across the country since 2009, generating thousands of lifesaving units. Blood drives hosted by Brian have helped recruit first-time blood donors at a rate of more than 25%. In 2012, Brian completed the Boston Marathon as a member of Team Red Cross. He has been featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, NBC’s The Today Show and ESPN. His story has been shared in USA Today, the Washington Post, Runner’s World and Muscle and Fitness Magazine. His journey of courage and determination has touched the hearts of many and his community service has helped save thousands of lives.

“There is no gift as absolutely precious as the gift of life, and no one acknowledges this more than Brian Boyle. Brian treats each day as a gift and an opportunity to help others. I’m in awe of Brian’s tenacity, relentless energy, graciousness, dedicated spirit, and compassionate commitment to helping others,” said Gail McGovern, President, American Red Cross.

Vote for Brian for Volunteer of the Year by July 26:

-  Visit http://www.stayclassy.org/classy-awards
-  click “vote”
-  then go to “East” region
-  select “Brian Boyle” for the Volunteer of the Year” category.

To read more about Brian and his work with the Red Cross, visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/ironheart

02
Jul
12

The Washington Post – Blood Donations: A Matter of Life and Death

 

After a blood transfusion saved his life, Ironman triathlete Brian Boyle advocates for the vital need for volunteer blood donors

One moment, 18-year-old Brian Boyle was driving home from swim practice. The next, he was in a hospital bed, unable to speak or move.

A natural athlete, Brian was now using all his lessons learned from team sports to survive. “Sometimes you do everything right, and life still doesn’t follow the path you thought you’d be on,” he says. A dump truck had broadsided his car, and heneeded immediate surgery.

His heart had been pushed from one side of his chest to the other. He was resuscitated eight times. The only physical hope for his survival was the gift of blood. Sixty percent of Brian’s blood was replaced through transfusions given by volunteer donors.

Making a difference. Two months later, when Brian entered rehab, he knew he wanted to make a difference. “I was alive! I wanted to take my experiences and help others. I started at the very foundation of my recovery—the blood donors, who were there from the getgo.”

He began by giving testimonials and speaking about blood donation, then by sponsoring 5K races for blood donation, still later by hosting blood drives. Now, as a volunteer spokesperson for national blood campaigns, he wears the American Red Cross emblem proudly at all his athletic events.

“Blood is needed every day for emergencies like mine, as well as for those with chronic conditions. For nearly 5 million people every year, a blood donation can make the difference between life and death. I am living proof of this.”

Brian’s determination and athletic spirit led to a rapid recovery. In 2007, Brian finished his first Ironman triathlon. “I had lost 100 pounds and had only weeks to train for it,” he says. “My story of survival made me believe I could attempt these races. When I crossed the finish line, I knew I was fully healed.” Brian’s story emphasizes just how important each and every blood donation can be. Accident victims, as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood, and volunteer donors are the only source.

Giving back. In 2009, Brian made his own first blood donation at the hospital that brought him back to life. Brian graduated from college with honors and is now a public speaker about the patient’s perspective when dealing with health issues. “My work with the Red Cross has made all the pain and suffering worthwhile,” he says. “I am blessed.”

01
May
12

American Red Cross Annual Report: Brian Boyle

"A blood donation can make the difference between life and death. I am living proof of this." - Brian Boyle, volunteer, blood recipient/donor

RACING TOWARD LIFE

July 6, 2004. One moment, 18-year-old Brian Boyle was driving home from swim practice. The next, he was in a hospital bed, unable to speak or move. A natural athlete, Brian was now using all his lessons learned from team sports to survive. “Sometimes you do everything right, and life still doesn’t follow the path you thought you’d be on,” he says.

A dump truck had broadsided his car, and he needed immediate surgery. His heart had been pushed from one side of his chest to the other. He was resuscitated eight times. The only physical hope for his survival was the gift of blood. Sixty percent of Brian’s blood was replaced through transfusions given by volunteer donors.

As he inched his way back to life, Brian wanted to reassure his parents. “I was their only child,” he says. “I wanted to give them a sign I hadn’t stopped fighting. What better way than to smile?” Then, gradually, he squeezed hands, wiggled his fingers, and blinked. “Once I was able to talk, I never wanted to be quiet again,” he laughs.

Two months later, when Brian entered rehab, he knew he wanted to make a difference. “I was alive! I wanted to take my experiences and help others. I started at the very foundation of my recovery—the blood donors, who were there from the get-go.”

He began by giving testimonials and speaking about blood donation, then by sponsoring 5K races for blood donation, still later by hosting blood drives. Now as a volunteer spokesperson for national blood campaigns, he wears the American Red Cross emblem proudly at all his athletic events.

“Blood is needed every day for emergencies like mine, as well as for those with chronic conditions. For nearly 5 million people every year, a blood donation can make the difference between life and death. I am living proof of this.”

Brian’s determination and athletic spirit led to a rapid recovery. He’d make a new goal every day. By December, he was walking and, soon after, started swimming. Several months later, he stepped onto his new college campus and swam his first stroke with his college team.

Now there was no holding Brian back. In 2007, Brian finished his first Ironman triathlon. “I had lost 100pounds and had only weeks to train for it,”he says. “My story of survival made me believe I could attempt these races. When I crossed the finish line, I knew I was fully healed.”

In 2009, Brian made his own first blood donation at the hospital that brought him back to life. Brian graduated from college with honors and is now a public speaker about the patient’s perspective when dealing with health issues. “My work with the Red Cross has made all the pain and suffering worthwhile,” he says. “I am blessed.”

Today, Brian blogs about racing and blood donation at redcrossblood.org/ironheart

And to watch the video that accompanies this article, please visit the American Red Cross Annual Report website.

22
Dec
11

Charlotte Observer Newspaper: Determination links generations of ‘Ironmen’

My grandfather and I at the 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, Florida

This is a newspaper article that was published in December 2011, and I wanted to post it in on my blog to celebrate the Air Force retirement of my grandfather, which took place on January 31, 2012

DETERMINATION LINKS GENERATIONS OF ‘IRONMEN’

Charlotte Observer, by Joe DePriest

Catawba County (North Carolina) native Joe Lineberger, 80, and his grandson, Brian Boyle, 25, are best friends. They hang out, talk a lot and enjoy the company. What’s more: they inspire each other. They’ve inspired me since I’ve gotten to know them over the past few weeks.

When Boyle told me about his grandfather’s recent “Spirit of Service” award from the U.S. Air Force, he didn’t mention his book about recovering from a near fatal auto accident as a teenager. “Iron Heart” by Brian Boyle with Bill Katovsky (founder of Triathlete magazine) was first published in 2009 and a paperback version came out on Nov. 15.

Lineberger brought up the subject of his grandson soon after we first talked. He asked if I knew about Boyle’s injuries, his comeback and completing a dream of finishing an Ironman Triathlon.

That’s how it went: grandfather and grandson putting the emphasis not on themselves, but the other. There’s an energy going on here – a sharing of strength. 

As a kid, Lineberger picked cotton on a Catawba County farm and later worked in his uncle’s grocery in downtown Maiden. Three uncles served in World War II and he was proud of them. At Maiden High, he played football, baseball and basketball – dreaming of going to Duke University. His family couldn’t afford the tuition so Lineberger joined Duke’s R.O.T.C. program and worked odd jobs like waiting tables in the university dining hall and selling football programs at games.

He was determined to succeed and earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke. Later, he’d get a master of business administration degree from the University of Chicago.

Action in Vietnam

Lineberger’s Air Force career began in 1953; he retired 28 years later as a colonel, but stayed on as a civilian employee. At 80, Lineberger still works full-time at Andrews Air Force Base and the Pentagon. He’s a Senior Executive Service member, the equivalent of a three-star general. 

The “Spirit of Service” award is for more than 50 years of service, including assignments with Air Force headquarters in Washington and the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. Lineberger was military assistant to the assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower, Reserve Affairs and Installations under five assistant secretaries. 

During the recent awards ceremony Michael Rhodes, director of administration and management in the office of the Secretary of Defense, talked about Lineberger and others who were being honored that day. “….They’ve had a hand in creating the world we live in today,” he said. “For more than five decades, each of the tremendous public servants we’re celebrating today has ensured our military strength and readiness. They meant business and they got business done.” 

Lineberger has pulled his share of administrative duties. But he was also awarded the Bronze Star for taking part in ground action during the bloody 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam. He was in Cholon, the Chinese section of Saigon, where some of the most intense fighting took place. 

The Vietnam War is a subject he knows first-hand. He’s researched Congressional Medal of Honor nominations for two Air Force heroes killed in Vietnam and shepherded the paperwork through the system: From the Joint Chiefs of Staff and defense department to Congress and the White House. “I guided them through the hoops,” Lineberger said. “I know the hoops. I’ve been through them before.”

One of those Medal of Honor winners, Airman Bill Pitsenbarger, is the subject of a movie that will be filmed next year, partly in the Carolinas and Georgia. Lineberger is one of the consultants on “The Last Full Measure” with an all-star cast that includes Bruce Willis, Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne, Morgan Freeman and Charlie Hunnam. 

Lineberger has many relatives and friends in North Carolina and wishes he could get back more often to see them. Maybe the movie will give him the chance. 

Meanwhile, he’s still working with the Air Force because “it keeps the mind fresh,” Lineberger told me.

His wife, Mary Helen, died seven years ago. They had five children. Boyle is the oldest of nine grandchildren. 

Although Lineberger keeps in shape by walking, he doesn’t do the grueling Ironman Triathlons and marathons Boyle takes on. But Lineberger is often at the finish line to offer encouragement.  The fact his grandson is out doing all that physically challenging stuff is nothing short of a miracle. 

Learning to walk

Boyle, who lives in Welcome, Md., was 18 when he headed home from swim practice one day and a dump truck rammed into his Camaro. Air-lifted to a shock-trauma hospital, he’d lost 60 percent of his blood, his heart had moved across his chest, and his organs and pelvis were pulverized.  In a coma for two months, he eventually came to and relearned how to walk, run and swim. 

He’s won all sorts of competitions, graduated cum laude from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and in 2010 was awarded the American Red Cross Regional Spokesperson of the Year award for the second year in a row. 

Boyle has been featured on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” NBC’s “Today” show, ESPN, and in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Fitness magazine, Runner’s World – the list goes on and on. You can get all the details in “Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back From the Dead.” 

Boyle survived because of his ironclad determination. He got that from his grandfather – somebody Boyle said “I want to and will try to emulate the rest of my life.” 

A “model of determination,” Boyle called him. “And most of all, a hero.” 

I’d call both of them “ironmen.”

To read more, please visit here.




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