Today (July-31-2013) was my sixth blood donation for the American Red Cross. And while all donations are special, this one was more meaningful than I could ever express in words. In July of 2004, the 6th to be exact, Brian Boyle was involved in a horrific traffic accident. His car mangled from the dump truck that slammed into his drivers-side door, Brian's body lay even more mangled inside. His heart had moved across his chest, and his organs and pelvis were pulverized. Brian would eventually lose 60% of his blood, clinically die more times than one could fathom, and then lie in a medically-induced coma for two months. And even though Brian saw the darkest of times, he never quit.
In 2007, he crossed the finish line of the Ironman in Hawaii. In 2008, Men's Health magazine named Brian on of its twenty heroes. 2009 was a non stop ride of five marathons in five weeks. It was in 2010 where Brian and I would meet and make a lasting friendship. During the 48th annual JFK 50 mile ultra, Brian passed a buddy of mine that I was running with. I instantly knew who he was and called out his name. We chatted for a bit and then parted ways. I had told him I would catch back up later on run some with him. As fate would have it, I did meet up with Brian about 38 miles into the race. He was struggling but positive and smiling. I ran the remaining miles by his side before letting him enjoy this victory to himself. He is an incredible human being, and seriously strong willed. At one point around 42-43 miles in, we dropped 9 minute miles. He went on to finish in 9:50:16.
We had planned on running a 100 mile ultra together, but life happens and we never had the chance to...yet. Later on this fall, my wife and I will be attending his wedding.
Thoughts like these were popping into my head today as I was donating. If it weren't for the anonymous donors who took the time to donate, too many people would be lost. Who knows, maybe one day I will be on the receiving end. I hope not, but life works in mysterious ways.
I was told on Twitter than this was a selfless act. That made me feel good. I have also been told not to donate because it would ruin my training. I laughed to myself. I enjoy running, it's what I do to pass time, but it's only recreational. I make no money off of it. I have some awesome sponsors who understand me. To lose a week or two of fitness to save lives is a no brainer. I wish I could donate every single day.
This coming Sunday I will be donating platelets. The procedure is rather lengthy, running around two or more hours. But thinking of those that have cancer and go through chemo. Those that live with constant pain for 24 hours a day...again, a no brainer. Add in that my platelet donation can be worth from 12 to 18 whole blood donations, I am stoked!
I will be thinking of my Uncle Eddie and Uncle Paul. I will be thinking of Jessica, who lost her husband 3 1/2 years ago. As well as Catharine, who lost her father 2 years ago. Andi, whos niece contracted cancer at age 13. Now at 17, she is cancer free. And the many people who I don't know who deal with this ugly disease every second of the day. To move mountains, we must try. I hope you will take the time to donate. Thank you for reading this!!