As a family practice physician, Christine Boylan, MD, is accustomed to looking at the big picture for her patients. But when it came to dealing with a heart-wrenching personal situation – her husband, Bob, passing following a valiant battle with cancer in December 2009 – Christine had difficulty in figuring out how to make good on a promise she made to him.
“During the last month of his illness, Bob required multiple transfusions of platelets and red blood cells,” says Christine, who is a physician at Town Plaza Family Practice, part of Midwest Physicians, and is on staff at Menorah Medical Center, part of HCA Midwest Health System- Kansas City’s largest healthcare network. Midwest Physicians, also part of HCA Midwest Health System, is a network of experienced, multi-specialty physicians located throughout the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area.
Toward the end he wanted to stop treatment. Bob felt he was wasting precious blood products for someone whose outlook was brighter,” says Christine.
However, Bob Boylan’s doctors remained hopeful and encouraged him to continue treatment. Christine made a solemn promise to her husband of 40 years and father of their three sons. “I told him if he continued treatment for the cancer, I would personally replace all of the blood products used no matter the outcome,” she says.
Several months following Bob’s death, Christine considered the magnitude of the promise she made to her husband. “I thought, “It’s going to take me years to fulfill my pledge,” she says. “But it was as thought Bob was sitting in front of me, talking to me. ‘Chris, you’re thinking small. Think BIG.”
The Bob Boylan Memorial Blood Drive was born in 2010. In its inaugural year, the event collected five times the amount of blood Bob used during his cancer treatment – both from local donations – including the couple’s three sons – and friends and family donating from out-of-town to local blood centers. Christine hopes the 2013 drive, slated for June 14, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Building A, Conference Room 1, at Menorah Medical Center, will once again surpass goals.
Since 2010, the Bob Boylan Blood Drive has seen a 20 percent increase in donors, and in 2012 the blood drive was at capacity for the entire seven-hour drive, with 118 registered donors and 76 units of blood collected. “The kindness and generosity of many blood donors gave Bob the strength to continue his battle,” says Christine. “To date we have collected 26 gallons of blood in Bob’s name which is more than 12 times the amount he used. Thank you to everyone, who has helped me fulfill my promise to Bob. I hope the loyal past supporters and new donors will donate in his memory to help others continue their fight, too.”
The Fourth Annual Bob Boylan Memorial Blood Drive will have door prizes, lunch, snacks and free child care. Contact Donna Jungman at Menorah Medical Center at (913) 498-7406, e-mail or visit bloodforbob.com for more information. Walk-ins are welcome on June 14.