I became a certified personal trainer back in the summer of 2007 before I participated in my first triathlon. Over the years I’ve competed in over 3 dozen endurance events that include 5 Ironman’s, 14 marathons, a 50 mile ultramarathon, and a 100 mile ultramarathon. I have also been on a personal mission to inspire the world to health and fitness. As a personal trainer and USA Triathlon Coach, I’m very excited to share that today I am officially launching the Iron Heart Health & Fitness program that will involve both personal training and customized triathlon coaching. More information on the program can be found here.
The American Red Cross recently launched the SleevesUp platform where individuals can donate blood in honor or in memory of someone. The concept is based on pledging to donate based simply by typing in your zip code and locating a local blood drive that you can conveniently donate at. This new platform allows you to help give the gift of life while encouraging others to donate blood with the click of a button.
I created my SleevesUp platform profile based on the concept of running 100 miles for 100 blood donors because I am on a life-long mission to make an impact in the world to help others and raise the awareness on the importance of blood donation.
One hundred blood donation pledges – one for every mile.
My campaign goal was to reach at least 100 blood or platelet donation pledges before the C&O Canal 100 mile Ultramarathon on April 24 in Knoxville, Maryland. The race consisted of one 58-mile loop and one 41-mile loop almost entirely on the C&O Canal, starting and finishing at Camp Manidokan and running along the canal between Antietam Creek and Noland’s Ferry. The furthest distance I ever ran before was 50 miles at the JFK 50 miler in Washington County, Maryland.
Ever since I registered for the C&0 100, I kept trying to wrap my mind around what it would be like to go beyond 50 miles, but I was ready for the challenge.
I gave my first blood donation back in March to officially launch the campaign, and over the next few weeks it warmed my heart when I saw the blood donation pledges adding up each day. I was able to reach my goal of 100 blood donation pledges in mid-April, and the night before the race I wrote down the names of the 100 blood donors on the back of my race bib to inspire me each step during the race.
Despite the brutal conditions on Saturday night, with freezing cold temperatures, the race was an incredible experience. It meant the world to have my wife and parents there supporting this journey because they inspire me every day. My good friend and fellow blood donor, Ray Jackson, also paced me through the final 40 miles of the race, which was the most difficult portion of the course for me because it was during the night and through rain and sleet. Running with Ray helped me to stay positive and fully focused on keeping one foot in front of the other. Through a lot of encouragement and support, I finished the 100-mile ultramarathon in just over 29 challenging, nonstop hours. While just over 130 runners registered for the race, only 69 crossed the finish line..
I dedicated a mile to each one of the 100 generous people who pledged to donate blood or platelets. Not only did I accomplish the goal I had set for myself, but I was able to potentially help up to 300 people in need of blood because one blood donation can save up to three lives.
When I compete in a race, it isn’t just me out there, there is also a team of many blood donors being represented also, and crossing the finish line is my way of showing the gratitude for the gift of life they have given me.
This is a short video the Red Cross made to document the race.
“The patient engagement is key to better patient outcomes, lower costs of care, and more joyful clinicians. Health care needs people like Brian Boyle to keep us focused on the goal, to have an impact.”–Dr. Peter Pronovost, Johns Hopkins Medicine
The world is full of unknowns. We were a normal family living a happy life, and then one day, a near fatal car accident changed everything.
My dreams were shattered like the bones in my body. I lost 60% of my blood, heart was ripped across my chest, lungs collapsed, major organs were damaged, pelvis and ribs were pulverized, and I was resuscitated eight times. While in a two-month long medically-induced coma, I was unable to move or talk to anyone around me, yet I was able to hear, see, and feel pain for a majority of my time in the Intensive Care Unit.
As a family, we never thought that we would face such a traumatic situation, or rather, such a horrific nightmare. We were thrown into a place consisting of surgeries, machines, tubes, blood, and medical terms that caused utter confusion. We were in the hands of my medical team, and a few of them even said I was “in God’s hands.” For the next few months, we were constantly faced with unfathomable uncertainty and total despair.
Life seems to go on standby when you enter this unfamiliar realm. You frequently come face to face with the strength of the human spirit and the perseverance of the mind and the body. Throughout this entire ordeal, my parents and I experienced how unforgiving life can be and how it can drastically change in the blink of an eye.
Due to a concussion, I woke up not knowing how I arrived at the hospital, or why I was paralyzed, or why my parents were hysterically crying every time they came in my room. I had so many questions and needed so many answers. My parents had many questions also – about my prognosis, what the future would hold, and if life would ever return to normal. But again, there were no answers. There was no guidebook or support group to prepare us for what we were in for as a family.
What I learned throughout my time in the hospital is that while I may have been the patient lying in the hospital bed, I was not the only one in that room who was suffering. The observations that I made truly inspired me and helped me understand how important the role of communication is among the patient, family, and health care provider. When I was able to learn how to talk again, I soon discovered that the power of the voice is amplified when the message is of gratitude, that a simple smile cannot be underestimated, and that body language and tone of voice are critical components within the hospital room.
Every patient in the hospital has a story, and along with their loved ones, they all share an experience. After all my parents and I have been through, we made the decision to put our thoughts and experiences together to share our sincere gratitude and insight with the medical community from a patient and family perspective. We also hope that our experiences can offer hope and guidance for families facing the heartbreaking sadness when an unexpected, life-altering medical situation occurs.
Throughout this book, The Patient Experience: The Importance of Care, Communication, and Compassion in the Hospital Room, my parents and I discuss what worked for us during our time in the hospital, along with some things that could have been done a little bit differently to improve the situation. In no way are we trying to declare that this is the only way to treat the patient because that is not our intention or place to say such things. I believe in healthcare and the amazing people that have chosen to pursue this field in life. Our goal is to offer suggestions that we hope will improve the overall experience for both the caregiver, the patient, and their family.
This is a short video where I talk about some of my experiences in the hospital.
My recovery began the moment I was airlifted from the accident scene to Shock Trauma. For the next three years, I was transported throughout the many departments of the healthcare system, which is why I strongly believe that the information we cover in this book can also be very effective in any area of the entire health care system because the end goal is taking care of people. In order for us to provide better care for these individuals, we must understand the experiences they go through within the health care system. We must observe what they think and feel as they go through their journey. Our story is only one journey and it is intended as a means to express our appreciation to health care providers and also initiate the much-needed conversation of how we can take a step further to improve the experience for the patient and their family.
By the conclusion of this book, readers will be able to:
- Recognize the variety of feelings and emotions of the patient
- Identify simple methods and interventions to provide emotional support to relax the patient
- Determine the importance of particular amenities to a patient who may be unable to communicate
- Evaluate patient life-history to determine appropriate intervention techniques
- Understand the motivational role that communication has between the healthcare provider and the patient and his or her family
With my background, it is so meaningful to have the opportunity to share my story and appreciation with caregivers throughout the world. I also know that the healthcare setting can affect the provider over time because they experience so much with their patients. Compassion fatigue is very real, and it is always my goal to reignite that motivational flame that inspired them to pursue healthcare in the first place. It is my hope that when a healthcare provider picks up this book to read, whether they have been in the healthcare field for 5 days or 5 decades, they will feel motivated, recharged, and reflect back on what inspired them to want to go in the field in the first place. This book is not only meant for front line staff, but also anyone in the health care system who wants to understand what the patient and family are going through in the hospital setting.
Ever since I left the hospital, I have been on a personal mission to make a positive impact in healthcare. This book offers a rare and unique glimpse of what the patient and family are going through, and it covers the information that my parents and I wish we had during our time in the hospital.
More information on this book can be found on Amazon.
M & C (Meetings and Conventions) polled meeting professionals about how they find keynote speakers for their events, what they spend and many other factors. Among top priorities in the speaker selection process, more than half (54 percent) of respondents cited recommendations of others.
Because planners value the opinions of their peers, they also asked the 114 respondents to name the best keynote speakers they’ve heard in the past two years.
Among the keynote speakers, Brian Boyle was the first name listed in the Motivational category.
Brian’s story has been featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, NBC’s Today Show, ESPN, CNN, and several other programs throughout the country that have earned Emmy nominations and awards.
His journey of courage and determination has touched the hearts of millions, and his story and the message it carries has been celebrated around the world.
For more information on Brian’s story and his speaking background, please visit his website at ironheartbrianboyle.com
My path to the medical field began one month after I graduated high school in 2004 when I was an ICU patient. I was coming home from swim practice and was involved in a near fatal car accident with a speeding dump truck. The impact of the crash violently ripped my heart across my chest, shattering my ribs, clavicle, pelvis, collapsing my lungs, damage to practically every major organ, kidney and liver failure, removal of spleen and gallbladder, 60 percent blood loss, severe nerve damage to my left shoulder and in a coma on life support for over two months.
During my time in the hospital, I was very coherent during my comatose state. I couldn’t talk, move or communicate, but my senses were highly tuned into this environment because that is all I had to obtain information on my surroundings.
With all the sadness that we were facing as a family throughout the hospital phase, there were some good things happening as well, even though they rarely occurred during this stage. One of those amazing days came when I was able to learn how to talk again — a day my parents and I will never forget. After several attempts to get me to say a few syllables, one lucky day it just happened out of nowhere. My respiratory therapist attached a speaking valve, and I tried to sound out a few words and all of a sudden I began talking. All the nurses and doctors came running in and they all broke out in tears when they saw me. I thanked each and every one of them as soon as I saw them. My parents came running around the corner because they had just arrived for visiting hours, and they were awestruck. I told my dad that everything was going to be okay, and he couldn’t keep his composure and just burst into tears. As for my mom, I don’t think she stopped crying for the entire two months that I was in there, but at least in that moment, these were tears of joy.
I became a public speaker as a way to say thank you to my healthcare team at Prince George’s Hospital Center and to my Red Cross blood region in Baltimore. My story and healthcare message spread across the nation following the presentations that I gave at the Maryland Hospital Association and Maryland Healthcare Education Institute. Over the past few years, I have traveled the country and spoken at annual meetings for many state hospital associations under the American Hospital Association, at dozens of healthcare leadership conferences, annual conventions for medical organizations and given 100+ keynote presentations at various healthcare events (hospital leadership, Doctors, Nurses, EMS providers, frontline staff, nursing home personnel, medical suppliers, physical therapy and nursing school students). During my travels, I have had the opportunity to advise several world-renowned healthcare institutions on projects related to family and patient centered care.
It’s always an emotional experience for me to reflect back on my time in the hospital, especially in front of an audience full of healthcare providers and professionals. I give a piece of my heart and soul every time I tell my story, but it’s so worth it because my whole background is about showing the appreciation to the amazing people like them, for the work that they do, that saves people like me.
Every patient has a story and an experience, and I highly encourage healthcare providers to talk to their patients. As a patient, I was grateful for any interaction at all. Even though I was chemically paralyzed and the people around me were unsure of my level of comprehension, I was very aware of my surroundings. I could even sense the energy of the people who came into my room, by their tone, body language and movement. I could tell if they were having a good day or a really bad day. I also liked when my medical team would explain what they were doing, maybe not all the advanced details, but just enough to know what was taking place and that they were taking care of me.
During my time as a patient, the observations that I made truly inspired me and helped me understand how important the role of communication is between the patient and healthcare provider. When I was able to learn how to talk again, I soon discovered that the power of the voice is amplified when the message is of gratitude.
To learn more about Brian’s speaking background, please visit his website.
I’m proud to announce that the new Iron Heart website is now live, which documents Brian’s story and speaking career. Please visit ironheartbrianboyle.com
(BALTIMORE) — While thousands of people have responded to the recent emergency call for blood and platelet donations from the American Red Cross, there remains an urgent need for platelet donors, as well as donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood. Right now blood products are being distributed to area hospitals almost as quickly as donations are coming in.
“We are grateful to the donors who have rolled up a sleeve to give blood or platelets to the Red Cross in the last couple of weeks, but our work is not over,” said Donald L. Baker, CEO for the Red Cross Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Blood Services Region. “The need for blood is constant. As July comes to a close and August begins, we ask eligible donors to please give blood or platelets as soon as possible.”
The Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood donations on July 9 after seeing about 50,000 fewer blood and platelet donations than expected in June. Donations have increased by about 15 percent since the emergency call for donors was issued, but the middle and end of July mark only the halfway point to the challenging summer months.
“The summer is historically one of the most difficult times of year for blood and platelet donations,” said Baker. “Many donors are still enjoying summer activities, but patients are unable to take a vacation from needing lifesaving transfusions.”
Blood and platelets are needed for many reasons. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients and organ transplant patients, as well as those receiving treatment for cancer or sickle cell disease, may depend on lifesaving transfusions. Each day, the Red Cross Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Blood Services Region needs approximately 1000 donors to step forward and give blood. Blood and platelets can only come from generous volunteer donors.
Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially encouraged to give double red cells where available. Type O negative blood is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative blood can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.
How to Donate Blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
Brian Boyle became “Iron Heart” after making a full recovery from a tragic car accident. At 18 every major organ in his body was damaged and doctors thought he would not survive, let alone walk again.
“Every day was not guaranteed, every day was a blessing, it was a gift. To go from that experience, where I saw first-hand the power that medicine has, that healthcare providers have for their patients, the compassion, the support the drive; just having that team effort all the way through kept me going,” says Brian Boyle, a.k.a “Iron Heart,” athlete and American Red Cross National Volunteer.
Now Brian has become an Ironman athlete, the American Red Cross National Volunteer, an author, artist and role model. Best of all he says, he runs alongside his father, fiance and his lucky dog.
“To see my dad out there doing it, it was just amazing. That was just the coolest part about it, to see my dad out there pushing the pace, and running alongside Pam the whole way. We just finished strong,” says Boyle.
The Maryland Healthcare Education Institute (MHEI) teamed up with Brian to create this first annual Iron Heart walk and 5K. Brian says he ran every step in gratitude.
“My racing is my way of saying thank you to my healthcare team, not just in PG Hospital, but to anyone in healthcare. It’s my way of saying thank you for choosing this career, thank you for choosing this path in life, and for all you do for patients and their families,” adds Boyle.
The Iron Heart event raised money for MHEI scholarships for healthcare providers.
“We had about 54 people that turned out for the race today, and we’re hoping for more next year. Really our goal was to get out here and have fun, and have everyone with us,” says Jena Large, Iron Heart event organizer.
A race for Brian Boyle the Iron Heart, who doesn’t have a finish line in sight.
Please click here to view the WHAG TV News segment about the Iron Heart 5K.
Every artist has a focus and a story to tell. My name is Brian Boyle, and this is my story.
My life changed drastically on July 6, 2004. One month after I graduated high school, I was coming home from swim practice and was involved in a very serious car accident with a speeding dump truck. The impact of the crash knocked my heart across my chest, breaking most of my ribs, clavicle, pelvis, collapsing my lungs, bloodloss of 60 percent damaging every major organ in my body, causing severe nerve damage to my left shoulder and left me in a coma where I was on life support for over two months at Prince Georges Hospital Center in Cheverly, MD.
In the blink of an eye I went from being a high-school graduate to a practically lifeless body on my deathbed. As for the future, it did not exist. My life was ripped away in an instant, and all that I had left as a reminder was a broken body covered in scarred flesh and a fragmented memory of what happened.
My rehabilitation and therapy was not just physical, it was also psychological and emotional. It was therapeutic for me to put my thoughts on paper, through writing, drawing and also through photography. For many hours of every day, my pen was my psychiatrist and I spoke through it subconsciously, and my emotions poured out onto the paper and into the computer.
I did not have an actual memory of the accident taking place, but I remembered most phases of the coma, and after a few weeks of getting strong enough to write and draw skillfully again, I explored my tragic past in order to confront and understand what happened to me.
The intense concentration that took place while visualizing and illustrating the subject matter helped me focus into the subconscious memories that lay beneath the surface of my mind. Having the ability to put my thoughts and memories down on paper was very therapeutic because it was the most efficient form of self-expression, which allowed me to embark on an internal journey in search of understanding.
Art portrays who I am as a human being and shows my inner feelings that cannot be expressed by words; recreating scenes from my memory of being in a coma, hallucinations, never-ending operations and the often hopeless atmosphere. To illustrate these scenes, I often use symbolic colors and images, disorienting compositions of blurred first-person perspectives and other methods that will recreate the memories.
This is what makes art so extraordinary, because an image that appears to be a blotch of colors is actually an expression of the artist’s emotions. I can create a different interpretation of my work, just by adding a variety of color-coordinated textures and value changes. An artist portrays their thoughts and feelings into their work by using neutral colors like gray and blue to show a feeling of peace, or use more vivid colors like red and orange to show rage or anger, and most importantly the essence of life, the substance of blood. The usage of black and white colors shows a clear boundary of life and death.
I try to use different effects like this in my artwork to catch the viewer’s eye; elongating a certain stroke or angle can change the whole perspective of a painting or sketch. Whether I’m drawing a picture of the intersection that my accident took place, or trying to recreate the feeling of being comatose, the art that I create attempts to put these fragments of my agonizing past together again.
Click here to view short film, “Comatose”.
I strongly believe that life is a learning experience in itself because every day you discover a new element that makes you stronger as an individual. Art is symbolically similar to life because art represents the essence and nature of life, which makes art as well as life a learning experience.
When I begin a new project, whether it’s digital, print or audio, I usually do not have a starting place or final product in mind. I just start drawing and it leads to a subconscious exploration of the haunting and fascinating visions of my past.
After the first mark on the paper is put down, I am flooded with memories that are visual representations of my subconscious. My method of reaction will vary, but my hope is to confront these images on a visible scale in order to make sense of them and from doing this these past few years, I finally have the closure that I have been seeking.
My journey back to life has been a very slow and often difficult process, and my art has also been a journey in itself to understand and confront this process.
Boyle was 18 years old when the force of a horrific crash pushed his heart across his chest and damaged every major organ in his body eight years ago. Doctors weren’t sure he would survive, let alone ever walk again, according to the American Red Cross.
But after undergoing several life-saving surgeries, a medically induced a coma, intensive rehabilitation and receiving 36 blood transfusions, the Welcome, Md., man gradually recovered and now dedicates his life to competing in triathlons and giving back to the donors who saved him.
“Thirty-six blood transfusions. That’s 36 people who took an hour of their time to save the life of someone they would never know,” Boyle told The Washington Post. “When I compete in a race, it isn’t just me out there: There is also a team of many blood donors being represented, and crossing that finish line is my way of saying thank you for their gift.”
And Boyle has crossed many a finish line. He achieved his lifelong dream of competing in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii just three years after his accident. This year alone, Boyle has competed in two Ironman races and one marathon. He dons the Red Cross logo on his chest each time.
“I wanted to test my body,” he told courant.com after finishing his most recent marathon on Oct. 13. “I felt so limited, so restricted throughout my recovery. I was Brian the Sick Boy. The Boy in the Wheelchair. Now it’s Brian the Ironman.”
Boyle also honors his blood donors by emulating them, especially during a time when the Red Cross is facing a 15-year low in blood supply. He’s donated blood five times, according to the Red Cross.
“During a race when I feel my heart racing and my blood pumping, these were once signs that I was dying,” Boyle wrote on redcross.org, “now these are signs that I am living, and thanks to the Red Cross, living is something I don’t take for granted.”
To read full article, please visit this website.