Adventures of a Hemophiliac
Written by Anne Golden ’04, '10MA
Director of Alumni Relations
In 2011, Chris Bombardier ’07 checked Mt. Kilimanjaro off his bucket list. On January 26, 2013, he will break out his red pen to cross off Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. This trip will include a 22,834’ hike and, not surprisingly, weekly blood transfusions on the way up.
For Bombardier, a Colorado native, hiking the tallest mountains in the world is not a simple bucket list made in vain. It is a daily way of life. A way that he can enjoy the outdoors, feed the need for adventure, and show himself and others that living with severe hemophilia B does not hinder those objectives. Bombardier became the first American with hemophilia to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro. It set him on the path to become the first person with hemophilia to climb the seven summits, the highest peaks on each continent, including Mt. Everest.
Living with hemophilia has been a lifelong learning experience. The blood disorder is caused by a deficiency of factor IX and characterized by a strong tendency to bleed. The outlook was bleak when he was born. Thankfully, throughout the years treatment in the United States improved tremendously, and Bombardier was able to adapt to the lifestyle. Major contact sports, like football, were out of the picture. Despite the nasty bruises, multiple visits to Nurse Kelly and a strict medical regimen, he led a successful career in baseball at Doane and was an active member of Tau Sigma Zeta fraternity.
Developing countries, however, have not seen the same type of hemophilia development like the United States. There is usually no budget to purchase the blood-clotting medicine needed to sustain life. With the encouragement of his mentor, Laureen Kelley, Bombardier joined the board of directors for Save One Life, a nonprofit organization that offers sponsorships directly to children or adults with a bleeding disorder in developing countries. Helping people with hemophilia internationally is close to his heart. He spent time in Kenya helping setup a hemophilia lab and clinic. Seeing the great need for help in communities like these has only strengthened his desire to pursue the seven summit climbs and raise money for others like him. Chris is currently raising $5,000 as he climbs Aconcagua. Follow his progress and see his current fundraising goals on his personal blog.
Bombardier credits Doane University for sparking his love of travel and shaping his desire to give back. During his time in college he spent an interterm in Italy and France and also volunteered in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Students at Doane are given opportunities that have the possibility of affecting others across the globe. Chris, we congratulate you on your tenacity, dedication and drive for others. Good luck in your next climb!
Do you know a Doane alum or alumna that illustrates great values? Contact the Alumni Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.