Quote: "Our primary challenges are weather and temperature. Most of the time temperatures will be below zero. Wind can make that worse-a real danger for frostbite."
On Christmas Day 32-year-old Chris Bombardier, who has severe hemophilia B, will head to Antarctica to climb Mt. Vinson. This is the last of the highest peaks on each continent-known as the Seven Summits-remaining for him to climb.
What makes this climb historic is that Chris will become the first person with hemophilia, a blood clotting disorder, to climb all seven summits. And his mission is not just to be the first, but to raise awareness about the inequity of care for those with bleeding disorders in developing countries.
In 2011 Chris climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro while traveling to Kenya with the Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center to help set up a hemophilia lab and clinic. After seeing the dire need of patients in Kenya, Chris decided to become the first person with hemophilia to climb the Seven Summits to raise global awareness. He has already summited Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, Mt. Elbrus in Russia, Denali in Alaska, Carstenz Pyramid in Papua Indonesia and the highest of all, Mt. Everest in Nepal.
Now, one peak stands between Chris and his goal: 16,050-foot Mt. Vinson.
Chris lands on Union Glacier, Antarctica on December 29. Depending on the weather, he will then fly to base camp. After a day of preparation, Chris, his guide and founder of Mountain Professionals, Ryan Waters, seven additional climbers and one additional guide will start their nine-day trek to the summit.
"Our primary challenges are weather and temperature. Most of the time temperatures will be below zero. Wind can make that worse-a real danger for frostbite."
Chris is a board member and dedicated fundraiser for Save One Life, an international organization that assists children with bleeding disorders in 13 developing countries through direct sponsorship, scholarships and micro-enterprise grants. Save One Life was founded in 2001 by Laureen A. Kelley, author and mother of a child with hemophilia. Chris hopes to raise $16,050 toward Save One Life's scholarship program through this climb.
When asked how excited he is on a scale of one to ten, Chris replies, "A ten! I'm very excited just to be on the continent." Chris has held a Save One Life banner on each summit to remind everyone that nearly 75% of people with hemophilia in the world do not have access to adequate treatment. He adds, "I'll also carry the photo of the boy with hemophilia I met in Kenya to the summit."
Chris's climb is being generously sponsored by Octapharma, a manufacturer of blood-clotting products and the largest privately owned human protein products manufacturer in the world. Octapharma is also sponsoring a documentary by Believe Ltd. about Chris's climbs, called "Bombardier Blood," to be released in 2018.
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