Book review of Swim Bark Run in Triathlete Magazine

0718_CoverTRIATHLETE MAGAZINE

July, 2018

Want to get your kiddos into triathlon? Do it with doggos! This charming illustrated children’s book follows Daisy the Bulldog as she cheers for her owner at his races, then decides to put on her own K9 event with her three buddies. Rascal the Dachsund takes over race director responsibilities, and the race planning gets underway. Obviously, doggos can’t bike, but they can skateboard! Adorableness and life lessons ensue – like how to persevere when the going gets tough, and that sometimes it’s important to put others before yourself. If you want to teach your pups to win at all costs, this book isn’t for you. If you want to teach them to find joy in being out there and supporting friends, grab Swim Bark Run pronto. We tested it on Triathlete’s resident 19-month-old and she instantly fell in love with the chubby-cheeked Daisy and her race mantra: “Go, Daisy go! Swim, bark, run. Go Daisy go, just have fun!” –Erin Beresini, Editor-in-Chief, Triathlete Magazine

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New children’s book now available: Swim Bark Run

SWIM BARK RUN_ART (2)Daisy the Bulldog has gone to every one of her owner’s triathlons. She’s proud of his athletic accomplishments, and is always there to greet him at the finish line.

Daisy wonders if she could train and compete for an event like that. So she gets her doggy friends, Rascal the Dachshund, Atticus the Corgi, and Hobie the Dalmation to make their own dog-athalon.

They plot a course through the park and train daily: swimming across the pond, skateboarding down the sidewalks, running up and down the hill.

Finally, it’s the big day, and the poochy pals couldn’t be more excited. The course is tough, but they help one another along the way, cheering to keep going, challenging to do their very best.

On the final hill, Daisy’s tired and not sure she can make it to the finish line―until she spots a familiar (human) face, rooting for her along the way. “Go, Daisy, go! Swim, bark, run. Go, Daisy, go! Just have fun!”

A charming celebration of setting goals and staying active, SWIM BARK RUN demonstrates that with determination and teamwork, everyone’s a winner.

If you would like an autographed copy, they can be ordered through this website.

UltraRunning Magazine: One Hundred Miles of Gratitude

IMG_5039UltraRunning Magazine

March 2018 issue

The adrenaline was electric at the starting line of the Devil Dog 100 ultramarathon in Prince William Forest Park, Virginia. It was 5:59 a.m. on December 2, 2017 and with only a minute to go, I glanced at the faces around me, their physical and emotional energy glowing under their headlamps, and I wondered what motivated all these incredible athletes to pursue this event. As for me, I glanced down at my bib number where I had written the names of 170 generous people that pledged to donate blood to support my Red Cross virtual blood drive – they were my motivation.

The gun went off and I focused in on running one mile at a time, hoping that the past six months of training would get me to the finish line. The first loop, miles 1-20, went by in a steady blur as I charted out various markers on the course to be aware of for the upcoming laps. Early on, I stayed with a pack of runners in a single file line at a 10-minute-per-mile pace, our headlamps illuminating the course in front of us. I continuously studied the course in front of me, on alert for any root, rock or any hidden debris that could twist an ankle or worse. In the sub-freezing temperature, I kept trying to blow my exhaled breath downward so it didn’t cloud my foot placement. The last third of the loop included a variety of technical inclines that forced me to slow the pace to a careful walk.

The second loop, miles 21-40, the pace remained steady. With the energy still high, I spoke to several of the runners that had  shared the same pace – learning where they were from, how many ultras they completed, what their estimated finish time was and other information.

Once I reached the halfway mark during the third lap (miles 41-60), I felt a sense of reassurance. Right before the sun went down, I was able to see my parents at an aid station. We were very happy to see each other, even if only for a few short minutes, but it was enough to give me some much needed inspiration.

On the fourth lap, miles 60-80, I felt a surge of energy and increased the pace for as long as I could. I knew I had to conserve energy for the last loop, but I wanted to make the most of this second wind that I had after seeing my parents.

By mile 92, the surge slowed back down and I alternated a fast walk/jog strategy. Through the trees, I watched the sun begin to slowly rise and I could hear the sounds of nature and wildlife preparing for the new day – the birds, insects, and the sound of my tired feet crunching through the path covered in leaves. I breathed in deeply as I reflected on how magical this moment was, noticing that the sun’s reflection off the tiny dew droplets looked like thousands of diamonds in every direction. Watching the sunrise was an awakening for the mind, body and spirit.

With a few miles left, I was reduced to a moderate walk and I kept glancing at my watch to see my pace and the time, but most of all my heart rate.

Watching the blinking heart icon made me reflect on how special this event was and just how amazing it is to be alive. Thirteen years earlier, I was in ICU in critical condition, in a coma for two months, resuscitated eight times, and was given 36 blood transfusions and 13 plasma treatments throughout my 14 lifesaving operations. I had been in a near fatal-car accident coming home after swim practice.

And now, here I was celebrating 10 years of competing in endurance sports and approaching the finish line. I looked down at my bib number that included the 170 names. As a blood recipient, these generous people were my motivation to not only start this race, but to also get to the finish line.

After 26 hours and 48 minutes, I crossed the finish line through the support of my parents, wife, four-month-old daughter Clara, and my Red Cross colleagues, Donna and Kamenna. In my years of competing in endurance sports, I’ve learned that a race may be run alone, but in no way is it ever an individual effort. I was able to improve my 100 mile time by 3 hours and surprisingly place ninth overall, enjoying every mile, breath, and heartbeat along the way.

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‘The Patient Experience’ Book Review in Nursing Standard (United Kingdom)

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Nursing Standard is the UK’s best selling nursing journal and the ultimate resource for students and fully qualified nurses.

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The Patient Experience: The Importance of Care, Communication and Compassion in the Hospital Room

Reviewed by: Paul Jebb, Experience of Care Professional Lead – NHS England

The author’s personal account of his experience as a patient forms the basis of this book. After a car accident, Brian Boyle was in a medically-induced coma for two months and was unable to move and talk, but he was still able to hear, see and feel pain. He relied on his caregivers and family.

The book discusses and reflects on the personal care he received and how healthcare teams delivered patient-centered and family-centered care.

Offering an extraordinary glimpse into the perspectives of the patient and family, the book inspires the reader to understand how compassionate, patient-centered care can eventually improve outcomes for patients.

Topics include recognizing the feelings and emotions of the patient, identifying simple methods that can help to provide emotional support, and understanding the motivational role that communication has for the healthcare provider, patient and their family.

The text is a must-read for healthcare staff working at all levels and from every background. Its valuable insight into the experiences of patients will prompt staff to reflect on and understand the important role that caregivers can play in changing outcomes.

Read more…

Brian Boyle’s Patient Experience Book Featured in ‘The Mulberry Tree’ Magazine (St. Mary’s College of Maryland)

IMG_1533aBrian Boyle ’10 has written his second book entitled The Patient Experience: The Importance of Care, Communication, and Compassion in the Hospital Room. While his first book, Iron Heart, told the story of how, at age eighteen, he survived a horrific automobile accident, his recovery and all that he had accomplished since his accident; his new book is written from the patient’s perspective to help caregivers gain valuable insight and understand new ways to provide care for patients and their families.

The book, based on his recovery process, includes artwork, journal entries and writings from classes he took as a student at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Since 2004, Brian’s mission has been to make an impact in healthcare through affiliation with the American Red Cross as a national volunteer spokesman, his Huffington Post column, his many public speaking events, and now as a Johns Hopkins University graduate student pursuing dual master’s degrees in health communication and business administration.

Brian Boyle, author of Iron Heart, visits St. Patrick High School in Biloxi, Mississippi

sp_highschoolAs part of the annual summer reading assignments at St. Patrick Catholic High School, students in ninth through twelfth grade read and studied Brian Boyle’s Iron Heart: The True Story of How I Came Back from the Dead.  This past Thursday, students had the unique opportunity to meet Boyle as he spent the day at St. Patrick addressing the student body, signing autographs, and taking photos.

Iron Heart is the personal narrative of Boyle’s triumph over tragedy.  Nearly eight years ago on the way home from swim practice, eighteen-year-old athlete Brian Boyle’s future changed in an instant when a dump truck plowed into his Camaro. He was airlifted to a shock-trauma hospital. He had lost sixty percent of his blood, his heart had moved across his chest, and his organs and pelvis were pulverized. He was placed in a medically-induced coma. When Boyle finally emerged from the coma two months later, he 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, he heard words like “vegetable” and “nursing home.” If he lived, doctors predicted he might not be able to walk again, and certainly not swim. Then, miraculously, Boyle clawed his way back to the living. First blinking his eyelids, then squeezing a hand, then smiling, he gradually emerged from his locked-in state. The former swimmer and bodybuilder had lost one hundred pounds.

Iron Heart is the first-person account of Boyle’s ordeal and his miraculous comeback. With enormous fortitude he learned to walk, then run, and eventually, to swim. With his dream of competing in the Ironman Triathlon spurring him on, Boyle defied all odds, and three and a half years after his accident, crossed the finish line in Kona, Hawaii. Boyle’s inspiring journey from coma to Kona is brought to life in his acclaimed memoir.

On Thursday, St. Patrick students began their morning by listening to a presentation from Boyle where his discussed the importance of persistence and courage.  Prior to the presentation, students and faculty submitted questions to Boyle through the school website.  One intriguing question was asked by religious studies teacher Terry Creel, “How do you hope your story can be used to promote life issues in the culture of death we are surrounded by?”  Being raised in the Catholic Church, Boyle explained how it was through his Catholic faith that he was able to regain life and recover.  He mentioned that he hopes the book will show people how precious life truly is, and that it will inspire people to continue moving forward despite the challenges with which they are faced.

Boyle currently attends Johns Hopkins University working toward a dual Master’s degree in business and communication, and he plans to seek a doctorate in the near future obtaining his degree.  Iron Heart is an emotional, yet motivational, story of endurance and perseverance that encourages people to enjoy life to the fullest and count their blessings every day.

100 Miles for 100 Red Cross Blood Donors

c&o100-2The 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.

finish_line_smallDespite 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.

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Meetings and Conventions Best Keynote Speakers: Brian Boyle

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Image: Keith Weller

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

The Power of the Voice Is Amplified When the Message Is of Gratitude

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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.