LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- In 2004, Brian Boyle was an 18-year-old high school student in Maryland, an athlete in great physical shape with a bright future ahead of him but in the blink of an eye, Boyle's life changed forever.
"I was driving home from swim practice and was involved with a near fatal car accident with a speeding dump truck. Injuries were catastrophic. My heart went across my chest, shattered ribs, shattered pelvis, collapsed lungs," says Boyle.
It was one of the worst trauma cases his doctors had ever seen, Boyle says. Sixty percent of his blood lost, nearly every vital organ damaged.
"Underwent 36 blood transfusions, 13 plasma treatments, was in a coma for two months, ICU," says Boyle. "When I was in my wheelchair in rehab, in my physical therapy unit, I remember just thinking to myself if I ever get better, if I ever learn how to walk again and make a full recovery, I want to get out of here and make the most of life."
After three years of healing, Brian Boyle fulfilled his commitment to a stronger life by crossing the finish line at the 2007 Hawaii Ironman competition.
"The completion of the Ironman completed the healing for my family and I so there wasn't any need to worry. I wasn't Bryan the sick boy, I was Bryan the Ironman," says Boyle.
Now, with more than half of his own blood coming from donations, Boyle takes his story across the country as the volunteer spokesperson for the American Red Cross. A grateful heart, a heart made of iron.
"I received a lot of blood. I had a lot of people take the time to make that selfless donation for me and that's why I'm living. That's why I'm breathing and that's why I say thank you. By giving just a little bit of your time, just an hour of your time, it can help give someone else a chance at a lifetime and I'm living proof of that," says Boyle.
Boyle continues to race in marathons and triathalons across the country. Each time, he says he wears the American Red Cross logo on his race suit.
For more on how you can donate to the American Red Cross, click here.