Friday, September 9, 2011

Courageous heart patient follows the Bruins’ lead

FRESH FACE: A bearded Boily with the
Stanley Cup, and then, cleanly shaven

Chad Boily

31-YEAR-OLD Chad Boily from Lisbon, Maine, is a fighter. Born with a congenital heart defect, Boily had his first surgery when he was 3 months old. He received his first heart transplant at age 16. And this past spring, when he was told he needed another new heart, he once again faced a fight for his life. “I got really tired,” says Boily. “I went down hill pretty fast. I started to feel really fatigued.”

Boily was admitted to the MGH while he waited for a second heart transplant. An avid hockey fan, he watched from his hospital bed as the Bruins won the playoffs and then went on to win the Stanley Cup Finals. As he watched game after game, Boily became inspired by the team and the beards they grew during the playoffs.

“I thought to myself, hey, I can do that,” says Boily. “I’m not going to shave until I get a heart transplant.” 

Boily is seen smiling in a picture at right taken when the Stanley Cup made the rounds at the MGH in July. A few days later he received a surprise from his cardiologist, Stephanie Moore, MD. She brought Bruins forward Shawn Thornton by for a visit.

“You can’t beat someone that refuses to give up – that’s true for the Bruins and also for Chad Boily,” says Moore. “Shawn and Chad are both fighters, so it was nice to see them shake hands.”

“Shawn looked at my beard and said mine was better than his!” says Boily. “And then we talked about how to stay motivated and focused.”

On Aug. 23, Boily received the news: a new heart was available. The surgery was a success, and the results were fast: six days after receiving his second heart transplant, Boily shaved.

“Everybody loves it!” says Boily. “It was messy, it took a while, but we got it done.”

Boily has spent three months at the MGH, but he is now feeling better and will be able to go home soon. “I feel really good. I still can’t believe it! But I know what I have to do and I’m ready to do it, and I think it’s going to be great.”

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