Chris Bombardier is an internationally known mountain climber and outdoorsman who conquered the Seven Summits. He is one of only about 500 people who have achieved this feat since the idea of doing so was first conceived in the 1950s. He is the subject of a film, Bombardier Blood, that documenting his amazing journey. Chris also has Hemophilia B.
Bombardier was the keynote speaker at WNY BloodCare Foundation’s first Fallfest & Education Day at Cradle Beach. A grant from the Hemophilia Federation of America made Chris Bombardier’s visit to WNY possible. The day included Dr. Beverly Schaefer providing an Update on Treatments, parents Jessica Graham and Monica Claringbould sharing information on how to Be Prepared: Emergency and Travel Tips and WNYBC COO, Jessica Wulf, LMSW on how It’s OK to Not be OK.
Bombardier enthralled those in attendance as he told of his journey of searching for his purpose to his place today as the Executive Director of Save One Life. Chris shared the fear and uncertainty that is common in the lives of a parent of a child with a bleeding disorder. He knows his parents often walked that fine line between overprotection and normalcy. He attributes his life perspective to the job they did in allowing him the space to grow up as engaged in life as possible, all while dealing with the “needles” that were a real part of his life.
In that vein (no pun…or maybe a little), Chris played baseball in high school and then went on to play at the college level as he pursued his degree in Biology. He confessed that obtaining his Bachelor in Science, however, was a function of his desire to continue to be eligible for the baseball team. When he left college, he found his life outside of baseball did not live up to his expectations.
Depression and anxiety about his condition, isolation and social connotations lead him to engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms. Drinking, anger and feelings of “not being good enough” were pervasive in this life. Until he connected with his “crazy” Uncle Dave , who instilled a passion for climbing, hiking and the outdoors.
This passion led Chris to consider tackling Denali, the highest peak in North America. His uncle made it clear that if he was going to climb these peaks, he needed to manage his condition and not put others at risk. His planning for the climb included learning how to pack, travel and infuse his factor, sometimes in a sub-zero climate, for multiple days at a time. His approach would lead him to the Seven Summits, the highest peaks in the seven traditional continents.
An early visit to Kenya with his home HTC fueled his desire to raise money to provide for the health needs of those with bleeding disorders less fortunate than him in countries around the world. He got involved with Save One Life to be able to continue directing funds to his cause. Now, Bombardier has his dream job as Executive Director of Save One Life, continuing to follow his passion to spread health and hope to others.
Thank you, Chris, for sharing your story and inspiring all of us to pursue our dreams regardless of our challenges.
Participation in WNY BloodCare Foundation events is an opportunity to become part of a community of support. While some of you may have adult children, your support of younger families makes a huge difference.
Look for future events on the WNYBC website Chapters page under events: WNYBC Chapter Events