May 25, 2017
At 9:59 a.m. Nepal local time on Monday, May 22, thirty-one-year-old Denver native Chris Bombardier (https://adventuresofahemophiliac.com) became the first person with hemophilia to summit Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak. Bombardier’s condition means that throughout “the most challenging mental and physical experience of [his] life,” he was required to pack perishable medical supplies and give himself intravenous infusions of an essential protein that helps clots the blood, lacking in those with hemophilia.
By summiting Mount Everest, Bombardier has now reached six of the “Seven Summits,” the highest peaks on each of the seven continents — a quest he began in 2011. This accomplishment can be claimed by only a few hundred other people worldwide, and is a bold contradiction to many perceptions and stereotypes about what it means to live with hemophilia.
Bombardier emphasizes that these achievements have only been possible because he has had access to essential care for hemophilia throughout his life. Yet this is not the case for as many as 75 percent of people born with the disorder, many of whom do not live to reach adulthood. This inequality has touched Bombardier deeply. It has become his mission to address it, and to challenge any boundaries, large or small, imposed by the disorder. On reaching the Everest summit, Bombardier noted, “By standing here I hope to show what we should be striving for. Not that everyone should climb mountains… but that everyone should be able to shoot for their dreams.”
Bombardier lives his mission not only through his summits, but through his work with empowering organizations such as GutMonkey (http://www.gutmonkey.com/), an outdoor experiential education company with close ties to the hemophilia community. Together with his local organization, the Colorado Chapter…