Reporting Jessica Kartalija
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Maryland man who died eight times on the operating table wants you to do what others did to save his life.
Jessica Kartalija has the amazing survival story of Brian Boyle, now the national face of the Red Cross, asking for your donation at a time when blood supplies are dangerously low.
His body was shattered.
“Heart went across my chest… pretty much every organ was damaged. Shattered pelvis, shattered ribs, collapsed lungs, severe nerve damage in my left shoulder and blood loss of 60 percent,” said Brian Boyle.
Seven years ago Boyle was a healthy, athletic teenager. He never thought he’d need the Red Cross to save his life.
“I’d say it was around 50 blood donors helped to keep me alive,” Boyle said.
A horrific accident near his southern Maryland home nearly killed him.
“I needed 36 blood transfusions and 13 plasma treatments,” he said.
Incredibly, Boyle now carries the title of Ironman three times over.
“People think I’m kind of crazy ’cause I’m going out to these races and the race is 140.6 miles for the Ironman or ultra marathons 50 miles, 100 miles,” Boyle said. “But to me it’s the adventure of living.”
Jessica Kartalijia: When you’re competing and you’re running marathons and you’re biking hundreds of miles, what are you thinking about the whole time?
“I’m always thinking about what I’ve been through,” Boyle said. “My journey back to life and everyone that has been a part of my journey back to life especially the blood donors.”
Boyle is the face of a new national campaign launched right here in Baltimore. He’s alive today because of the blood donations and now he wants you to step up.
“They said that I may never walk or talk again,” Boyle said in a national PSA. “But now I compete as an Ironman triathlete. Make a lifesaving Red Cross blood donation and help give someone a chance at tomorrow.”
The PSAs are running at one of the most crucial times for the American Red Cross. They say already this year in May and June donations are at a critical low, lower than they’ve been in the past 12 years.
The Red Cross collects more than 6 million units of blood each year, but donations are 6 percent lower than what’s usually seen at this time of year, and someone in America needs blood every 2 seconds.
“Brian’s story is so compelling,” said Mike Baisey, Red Cross spokesman. “His message is so important. There’s a very real need and there’s an immediate need for patients like Brian. His story is a great example of how important every donation can be.”
Jessica Kartalijia: Did you ever stop and think why did this happen to me? Why did I have to go through this?
“I just felt like maybe there is a reason behind this,” Boyle said. “Maybe I was meant to have this story where I can have that kind of impact, and if it’s for the Red Cross then it’s all worthwhile.”
To schedule a blood donation appointment, you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or click here.