Purpose to Play

Purpose to Play

P2P and I got caught on what life is like after Mount Everest, what I'm up to now, and what's on the horizon. Spoiler alert ... it's another mountain! We touch on what it was like to infuse at 20,000 feet: "On Adventures of a Hemophiliac, Bombardier said, 'It was a rest day and I just wanted to chill like everyone else, but as I looked at our climb we were headed to the next morning, I knew I had to do it. The infusion wasn’t the smoothest, the vein rolled and I initially missed, but then I recovered. I felt incredibly proud of this infusion and I realize how lucky I am to be able to choose this adventure and journey, and have the access to the treatment I need to let me chase this dream.'"

Check out the full article here.

Purpose 2 Play is THE place to go if you want the positive and inspiring stories in sports. They cover athletes, coaches and fans at all levels of play, and portray what they're doing to make the world a little brighter. So dive in, go below the surface hype, and discover some extraordinary heroes. These are the sports stories that deserve to be told.

European Medical Journal

European Medical Journal

Thank you Martha Hopewell, Marelle Hart and David Kyne for helping to put this article together in the European Medical Journal, to highlight my Everest climb and more importantly Save One Life, Inc. Click here for the article.

Bombardier Blood!

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Bombardier Blood!

While I was starting my trek to Everest Basecamp Patrick James Lynch, my good friend and the director of our documentary, headed to the Hemophilia Federation of America's Annual Meeting. We just spent the week before running around Kathmandu having so many powerful experiences it could fill a lifetime. I headed out on the biggest endeavor of my lifetime and Patrick had about 5 days to work with the Believe team to edit this video together before he presented at a huge annual meeting. I can't imagine how stressful that was!

This was this first time the title Bombardier Blood would be announced to the public and honestly I was nervous about it and pretty happy I was distracted elsewhere. I was initially a little hesitant about the title, I didn't really want my name in the title. It seemed a little egotistical and made the documentary about me and not completely about the story. I told Patrick my concerns and then he explained his reasons for picking the title. Of course the blood references makes sense with the hemophilia but he really sold me when he reminded me that my uncle said it the first day of filming.

We were sitting on a wooden fence with Red Rocks in the background. It was a sunny day and I loved that we got to share this moment together. Uncle Dave is one of the main reasons I got into climbing and he always encouraged me to chase these dreams. After hearing that reason I was sold.

We were about a week into the trek when HFA started. I wanted to hear Patrick's talk about our incredible experience and see the reaction to the clip I hadn't seen yet. I was excited to finally watch it but.....we were on the trek to Everest and although we had some internet, downloading any video was out of the question. I saw the traction on facebook and everyone seemed to enjoy it which made me happy but I was looking forward to watching it.

It wasn't able to do that until I had summited the mountain and returned home. I almost forgot about it honestly until Jess brought it up. I was so nervous to watch it. I don't particularly like watching myself in videos, it feels so strange but I wanted to see Patricks work. I was blown away. The shots they were able to put together and the emotion the captured was powerful. I'm so glad we were able to partner together and I can't wait to see the entire film!

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Rare Disease Report

Rare Disease Report

"During the whole trek, Chris asked the hemophilia community and others to show their support by sponsoring a child or donating to his Nepal fund at Save One Life. Nearly 80 sponsorship pledges were made—a record number—and Chris’s original fundraising amount, $8,848 (the altitude of Everest in meters) was surpassed by 150%. The $13,000 raised will be used to support reconstruction of homes and income generating activities for the members of the Nepal Hemophilia Society."

Guest post by Martha Hopewell Published Online: Friday, Jun 30, 2017

Guest post by Martha Hopewell
Published Online: Friday, Jun 30, 2017

Rare Disease Report is a website and weekly e-newsletter that offers an independent voice for the Rare Disease Community. It strives to bring together medical, scientific, investment, regulatory, and advocate professionals interested in rare diseases and orphan drugs. It is an honor to be featured in their publication, and to continue to advocate for our bleeding disorders community. Check out the article here.

303 Magazine

303 Magazine

“Ten years ago, it would have been physically impossible for someone with hemophilia to attempt one of our 14ers here in Colorado, let alone the highest peaks on the seven continents.”
- Amy Board, executive director of the Colorado Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation.
 

AUTHOR:HOLLY GRAHAM PUBLISHED:06/21/17

AUTHOR:HOLLY GRAHAM
PUBLISHED:06/21/17

303 Magazine wrote a magnificent article about my adventure to Mount Everest and the importance behind advocating for outdoor excursions. Check out the article here and let me know what you think.

Colorado HTC Newsletter

Colorado HTC Newsletter

Growing up, my local HTC was like a second home for me. I visited frequently, and the nurses and PT's were family. They came to my baseball games, and were even in attendance at my wedding! So to say that I am humbled and honored to be featured in their newsletter would be an understatement. While I enjoy climbing and the thrill of the adventure, it is giving back to my community that truly gives me happiness. Thank you for the spotlight, and I will continue to make you proud!
Check out the newsletter here.

June 2017 The Clotting Connection Volume 7, Issue 6

June 2017 The Clotting Connection Volume 7, Issue 6

CLIMBTALK Radio 1190

CLIMBTALK Radio 1190

CLIMBTALK Radio 1190 KVCU Boulder is a local radio program that discusses current news, core issues, and controversies in the climbing world. This was my first time on the radio and it was thrilling! Check out the YouTube videos to get a peek at the show! Below is PART 1 of 4, so be sure to check out all four segments!

9News Segment

9News Segment

MAN WITH SEVERE HEMOPHILIA TALKS ABOUT CLIMBING MOUNT EVEREST

Chris Bombardier joins the list of Coloradans who have climbed Mount Everest, with a caveat that makes it all the more impressive: he has severe hemophilia.

Author:Sarah Anderson Published:06/12/17

Author:Sarah Anderson
Published:06/12/17

My local news station here in Denver gave an incredible shout out to my climb and fundraising efforts while I was in Nepal. I feel so honored to be able to share my story, and the stories of my fellow bleeders, with the local community at large. Advocacy and education is at the root of everything I believe in and accomplish.

Purpose to Play

Purpose to Play

"For every child who has been told no due to their bleeding disorder.
For every patient wondering when his next dose of life-saving clotting factor will be.
For every family who has plans derailed by hemophilia.
For every parent who goes to bed in agony not understanding how to treat their child’s disorder.
For every hemophiliac athlete who waits in quiet hesitation out of fear of injury.
For all of us overcoming the impossible.

This mountain is for you."

-Chris Bombardier on summiting Mount Everest

Thanks P2P for sharing my message!

Purpose 2 Play is THE place to go if you want the positive and inspiring stories in sports. They cover athletes, coaches and fans at all levels of play, and portray what they're doing to make the world a little brighter. So dive in, go below the surface hype, and discover some extraordinary heroes. These are the sports stories that deserve to be told.

1011 News Segment

1011 News Segment

"A Doane University graduate can now say he is the first person with Hemophilia to ever climb Mount Everest. But he wasn't just hiking for himself."

As a Doane College alumni, I am honored that my story was shared with the Nebraska community.

By Carly Jensen |  Posted: Fri 10:28 PM, Jun 02, 2017  |  Updated: Fri 10:31 PM, Jun 02, 2017

By Carly Jensen |  Posted: Fri 10:28 PM, Jun 02, 2017  |  Updated: Fri 10:31 PM, Jun 02, 2017

Denver Post

Denver Post

Thank you Denver Post for this awesome write up, and special thanks to my friend Jeff Bailey for describing my adventure so well. It was really cool to see my story printed in the sports section ... and just below a story about the Rockies!

By JEFF BAILEY | jbailey@denverpost.com | The Denver Post PUBLISHED: June 2, 2017 at 8:25 pm | UPDATED: June 24, 2017 at 9:39 pm

By JEFF BAILEY | jbailey@denverpost.com | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: June 2, 2017 at 8:25 pm | UPDATED: June 24, 2017 at 9:39 pm

How the Seven Summits Quest Began

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How the Seven Summits Quest Began

Since the public announcement of the Everest climb and documentary went live a few weeks ago I have really enjoyed sharing my story about the Seven Summits with a few folks that I've ran into. I've really appreciated all the support and encouragement I have received especially the stories from some hemo moms who shared my story with their kids!

As I have revisited my story in the past few weeks I have really enjoyed reflecting on what brought me to Everest and Nepal. It's been a pretty wild journey the past six years climbing five of the seven summits and on my way to number six but what keeps coming to the forefront of the story is how I reached my first summit and how Africa truly changed my life forever. I will more than happily share my story with you if we ever run into each other in person but I really wanted to share it here as well.

My first view of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2011

My first view of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2011

This crazy journey began late in 2010 when I was working as a lab technician in the Hemophilia Research Lab at the University of Colorado. My boss had been collaborating with a group from Indiana's Hemophilia Treatment Center on a project in Kenya to establish a hemophilia clinic and lab. She had already made one trip but needed some help on trip number two. That's when she asked me to go with her! I didn't even let her finish the sentence when I said yes! I was so excited to help the hemophilia community globally and something else got me really really excited. Mt. Kilimanjaro was only few hundred miles away from where we were heading! Climbing was still relatively new to me but I really wanted to try a big mountain and Kili was the perfect starting point!

About 3 months before my climb, I attended my first hemophilia community meeting, NACCHO. One of the speakers at the meeting was an incredible woman who spoke about hemophilia in the developing world. She showed images of joints damaged by years of untreated bleeds and massive hematomas. I was in tears by the end but had a better grasp on the importance of the work we would be doing in Kenya. At the end of the talk, this woman mentioned that she was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro later in the year as a fundraiser for her international hemophilia nonprofit Save One Life. It was fate! I worked up the courage to introduce myself and that's how I connected with on of the most inspirational women I know and best mentors I have ever had, Laurie Kelley. She invited me to join in on the fundraising efforts with my Kili climb even though my trip was a few months before hers. It felt good to have a mission involved in my climb.

I trained for several months for the climb and when the time came to head to Africa I was nervous but ready for the physical challenge. What I wasn't prepared for was the eye opening, life changing, experience I was about to have. Once we arrived in Eldoret, we went straight to the hospital to tour the facilities and the potential lab space. One of our teams doctors had already been there for a few days and introduced us to a boy she found on the hospital wards. When she found him, he was bleeding out after a surgery. His joints were all swollen and he was extremely weak. It was clear he had hemophilia to our team, but no one at the hospital knew it. He was bleeding out because he had a surgery without any factor. A surgery he probably didn't even need. Our doctors had brought factor and treated the boy and he ended up leaving the hospital before we left. Meeting him changed my life forever. It changed my perspective on my own hemophilia and what was truly important in life. 

Before one of our educational talks about bleeding disorder with Dr. Chite and a young man with hemophilia from Kenya

Before one of our educational talks about bleeding disorder with Dr. Chite and a young man with hemophilia from Kenya

We spent two more weeks at the hospital, training and educating the staff about bleeding disorders and how to diagnose the different types of hemophilia. It was a fulfilling experience but I couldn't shake the feeling of how easily this could have been me. If I wasn't born where I was, when I was, my life could've looked like theirs. I finally realized what hemophilia really was.

When my uncle and I separated from the rest of the group and headed to Kilimanjaro I still couldn't shake that experience. I struggled with feelings of guilt as we began our climb. Why was I so lucky to be able to climb this mountain when those living with hemophilia just a few hundred miles away were suffering? As I summited Kilimanjaro I realized two very important things; first, I loved climbing big mountains, and two, I needed to do more for the global hemophilia community. That moment is when I set my sights on the Seven Summits and now it's time for the big one, Mt. Everest! 

Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

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BloodStream Podcast

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BloodStream Podcast

On my way back to Colorado from Alaska Hemophilia Camp I had a quick stop over in St. Louis. And by quick I mean about 10 hours total! My friend Patrick James Lynch had invited my to take part in Powering Through, which is a nationwide live speaker series for and about the bleeding disorders community. The event went great and I had a blast sharing my story which you can watch below.

After the event Patrick had asked me if I wanted to be interviewed for his podcast. Having recently become a podcast addict I thought it would be great to take part. We had a great conversation and despite a lack of sleep I think it went great! You can watch the podcast by clicking the photo below or clicking here!

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From Fun in the Sun to Camping in Alaska: June Recap

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From Fun in the Sun to Camping in Alaska: June Recap

June has been absolutely amazing! I haven't posted much from a lack of wifi and lack of time but I do want to share a little recap of an amazing month! Belize has been on our calendar for a long time. My good friend Brandon, who I've known since I was eight, and his awesome fiancé Kait decided to do the whole destination wedding thing and Jess and I were all for it. we headed down a couple days early to check out some sites and meet the rest of the crew there.

Our first day was spent cruising up a river on a speedboat and checking out wildlife. We saw crocodiles, iguanas and even got to feed a spider monkey named Mickey! If that wasn't cool enough we stopped at the amazing Mayan ruins of Lamanai. Our tour guide explained the significance of the city, the uses of the temples and a little about the Mayan culture. It was fascinating to think how old the ruins were and how many people lived there. The city was over ten miles long with an estimated 40-60,000 people living there! Only a tiny fraction has been unearthed but every jungle covered hill hides something amazing. It was a fascinating place and I loved visiting the site.

The boat ride back to the car was not nearly as much fun as the trip out. A huge thunderstorm hit and the rain felt like needles hitting our face! We did our best to protect ourselves but it was uncomfortable and we got soaked! It was an interesting end to a really fun day!

The rest of the crew was arriving in Belize that next day so we just decided to stroll around Belize City and a few museums before meeting them. It was an interesting day and the Mayan museum was fun but the overall feel of Belize City wasn't great. Apparently they have a very high crime rate in the city and you can feel that tension. We felt safe and almost everyone was incredibly friendly but the feel was strange. We jumped to the airport to meet the rest of the crew and then took a water taxi out to Ambergris Caye, where we would be staying the next five nights.

The houses Brandon and Kait rented were amazing! The first night was spent drinking beer and relaxing. We got up the next day and headed out to for an all day boat ride and my first SCUBA dive in the ocean. I was really nervous. I'm not as comfortable in the water as Jess but once we dove in, it was amazing! We stayed at around 40ft the first dive and saw a manatee, a sea turtle, a moray eel and more fish than I could imagine. I was hooked. We jumped back on the boat and headed to Shark Ray Alley where you could jump in and swim with nurse sharks and sting rays. The sharks and rays are so comfortable with people that they swim right next to you and we all touched the sharks. It was a pretty wild experience. I do have to say that as I reached for the shark I thought to myself, "As a bleeder, should I really pet a shark?" Obviously this passed quickly and I did.

The next day we got another dive in and went deeper. I wasn't nervous about the dive at all but the surface water was super rough. I actually thought about bailing on the dive except then I would have to sit on the boat the whole time which sounded worse. Once in the water everything was awesome! We swam through a narrow passage with coral walls on each side and it was absolutely breathtaking. After the dive we meet some of the other party members and snorkeled around before heading back.

The wedding day started out great. The divers in the group decided we had enough time to get in a dive before the wedding. It was another great dive and at one point a nurse shark same up between my legs! It was a crazy experience! We headed back to the house and got ready for the big day. We gathered on the beach outside the house for the most beautiful wedding I have seen. It was so great to see my friend so happy and taking such a cool step in life. Thats when things went downhill for me. There had been a stomach bug going around and I thought I escaped it. I felt great all day until dinner after the wedding. Something just felt wrong. Over the next day and a half I have never felt so terrible or been as sick. For everyones sake I won't go into details. It was a disappointing way end a great trip but we still had a blast!

After that great adventure I came home for a day and then headed out to Alaska for Camp Frozen Chozen. This year I was asked to help with the CIT (counselor-in-training) training that took place before camp. We camped for two nights and did some really amazing training activities. The CIT's setup camp, had a chili cook-off, hiked a glacier, saw a bear and really bonded. It was amazing to see these young people grow so much in a short weekend. After the weekend we headed to the main camp. I have always had fun at Alaska's Hemophilia Camp but this year was even better that usual. Besides struggling to paddle a "raft" built by my cabin out of a kick board, milk jugs, pool noodles and duck tape I had a blast! My cabin was full of great kids that teach me more about life than I can ever teach them. I can't wait to see what's in store next year and see my Alaska family again!

My first dive in the ocean was amazing! We saw a manatee, eel, a turtle and more fish than I could believe. I wish my underwater video skills were a bit better but here is a glimpse of our dive!

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Sometimes Plan B Doesn't Always Go As Planned: Mt. Hood

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Sometimes Plan B Doesn't Always Go As Planned: Mt. Hood

Yesterday my wife and I attempted to climb Mt. Hood, a beautiful dormant volcano just outside Portland, Oregon.  This was our backup after our planned climb of Mt. Rainier was derailed due to horrible weather. Mt. Hood is 3,000ft shorter than Rainier and most people climb it in only one day instead of 2 to 3 days like Rainier. It's still a glacier which means hiking on snow the entire time and some objective dangers that we needed to be aware of.

We left Washington Monday morning to do a light waterfall hike close to Hood before we headed up to Timberline Lodge. This would be our starting point in the morning. We set up "camp" in the back of our rental car, I heated up some water for dinner, we ate, I infused, and we laid down. It was surprisingly comfortable for being the back of a car, but there wasn't a whole lot of sleeping. I couldn't help thinking about the climb especially since an epic view of Hood appeared just before we laid down. It's an impressive mountain and a little daunting! 

The view of Mt. Hood from our car.

The view of Mt. Hood from our car.

Our 11:30pm wake-up call came quickly. I think I slept for 30 minutes, but overall I felt good. We tried to dress as much as possible in the warm car and just after midnight we stepped out into the wind. As we started the climb from the the east side of the lodge conditions seemed good; the snow was in good shape and the winds were mild. It was much cloudier than I expected but the full moon would peek through intermittently. We climbed for 20 minutes before the winds picked up. There was a forecast of 10mph winds overnight diminishing into 5mph in the morning. The winds were much stronger than forecasted and with it came some nasty sleet precipitation. To make it worse, it was blasting us almost straight in the face.

Jess and I got our hardshells on to keep us dry but after over an hour of this weather it started to take its toll. The sleet finally broke but the winds persisted. I asked Jess how she was doing and she said that her fingers were getting cold. We took a moment to adjust her layers; she put some mittens on as well as my expedition down jacket. We were hoping that would be enough to warm her up but it didn't help. 

There is a running joke with Jess and I about our body's ability to regulate temperature. She laughs when I go outside in shorts to shovel in a snowstorm and I tease her that she is wearing a hoody and slippers in the middle of summer. In the instance of being on a mountain in not ideal conditions, temperature regulation is extremely important. Unfortunately, this nasty bit of weather chilled Jess to the bone and she couldn't warm up. She pushed herself really hard to overcome this, which I am very proud of, but she was miserable. We reached the top of the Timberline Ski lift at about 8,500ft and I could see the misery in her eyes. She's not a quitter, and she was willing to push herself farther for me.

I really appreciated her drive but the right call was to go down and get her warm. It was a big bummer just because I felt really good on the climb, especially considering my recent hamstring injury, but we are a team and we make decisions that are right for the both of us. On the way down, Jess admitted that she hated every bit of that climb. This type of glacier mountaineering is a brutal sport that puts us in very uncomfortable situations and for some individuals, like myself, we enjoy it; for others, including Jess, there was no joy. I'm bummed that she is probably done climbing glaciers, but i'm really glad that she was brave enough to try something that I love. I can't ask for more than that!

Jess was so cold when we got back to the car she crawled back into my -40 sleeping bag and laid there as we started our drive back to my brothers house!

Jess was so cold when we got back to the car she crawled back into my -40 sleeping bag and laid there as we started our drive back to my brothers house!

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Mt. Rainier Status Update

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Mt. Rainier Status Update

Here is a quick update about our attempt to climb Mt. Rainier. Not what we we're hoping but I believe that it's the right decision.

Quick update on the status of our Mt. Rainier climb.

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GutMonkey: Who are they?

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GutMonkey: Who are they?

Yesterday I got to hangout with some really amazing people in Portland, Oregon, the GutMonkey crew! What is a GutMonkey you might ask? Well, it's not a what, but a who. They are an outdoor experiential education company with close ties to our hemophilia community. But they are so much more than just a company; they are an exceptional group of people that want to use their unique wilderness skills to change our community's perspective on how hemophiliacs seek adventure.

Pat Torrey is the head monkey and started the company in 2005. He has a wealth of knowledge in the outdoor world, especially with knots, as he knows hundreds of them! He designed and built high ropes courses for years, and after a chance meeting with someone in our community, Pat got sucked in and has never left. His brother Joe joined a few years ago to make this a family affair and Jacose Bell joined a little over two years ago to round out the group.

One of their missions as a company is to help facilitate emotional and physical growth through outdoor experiences. I have a shared vision with GutMonkey; to inspire people to be adventurous and genuine. GutMonkey creates those moments by running week long trips in some of the most beautiful places in the United States called Leading X. Their Leading Edge program teaches teens about leadership skills in conference and camp settings. They run an amazing strictly Hemophilia B program called GenIX which emphasizes mentoring while men with inhibitors go camping and on ropes courses on their Leverage program. They provide people in the bleeding disorder community with unbelievable experiences and the confidence to do more and Be Brave!

I joined them on one of their Leading X programs last year on the Green River in Utah. It was an incredible journey, not just because of the spectacular views, but because of the friends I found and the bonds I made. There is something special about sitting around the campfire after a long day of adventure and physical work and reminiscing about how each of us were affected. It's easier to connect with one another and be honest about your feelings and thoughts about the world. I will never forget that trip, and I'm so excited for the group heading out to the river this year to get to build some of their own memories!

Please check out this incredible company and their programs here and join one of their trips! Few people get the chance to experience these magical wonders while being led by such experienced and fun people. I guarantee you won't regret it!

The first Green River trip for Leading X! The crew brought plenty of leadership experience, and left with a plan to help the bleeding disorders community.

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Meet James DeFilippi!

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Meet James DeFilippi!

Like many of us with bleeding disorders James DeFilippi remembers doctors telling him, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that.” And like many of us he felt like that had a huge impact on his mentality. “For me, for a long time, I felt like I had something to prove,” James reflected. It is that drive and that mentality that  has helped him successfully finish 40+ triathlons, 2 IronMans, a handful of marathons and a selection to represent Team USA in the 2014 Olympic Distance Age-Group World Championships.

His journey with mild hemophilia began with a diagnosis at birth after his older brother was diagnosed a few years earlier. In retrospect, his grandfather probably had mild hemophilia as well but was never diagnosed. James describes himself as a rambunctious kid with bleeds happening around once a month. He also was unfortunately infected with Hepatitis C through contaminated factor. He had to fight through Interferon treatment in his early teens, “It was brutal, absolutely brutal” and thankfully he cleared the virus.

College was a huge turning point for James as far as controlling his hemophilia. He was on the rowing team in high school and when he joined a division 1 rowing team in college his access to strength coaches and trainers changed his perspective. His trainers took time to understand his condition and adapt his training for it. “It kept my joints stronger and more mobile to avoid injury” a philosophy that he still lives by today as he follows his new passion of running, cycling and competing in triathlons.

Training for triathlons is a lot of work and James knows he has to #playitsmart in order to compete at the level he wants. “I started small and worked my way up to longer distances, and I’ve been able to go very fast at triathlons … but it’s because I spend the time to do the strength and flexibility work and I am kind of careful to go to the edge but not go past it regularly.” Being fast at those triathlons has lead to him joining an elite amateur triathlon team called Team Every Man Jack. Being a part of such an amazing team provides James the opportunity to be surrounded by the nation’s best amateur triathletes.  In addition, James has a professional triathlon coach who understand his personality and his bleeding condition, and tailors plans regularly for him, to ensure he is ready on race day, no matter what the setback. He is open about his hemophilia with his teammates, but doesn’t typically lead with it. “I want to be considered for my athletic abilities first and second for having a bleeding disorder.”

James also believes that being successful physically with hemophilia is in part due to making smart choices in what sports we choose and how we approach them, something I agree with fully. “I literally believe that you can do anything you want if you have hemophilia, it’s just a matter of understanding consequences and being willing to deal with it.” James tells me. We both agree that you have to take ownership of your condition and your health. James is an amazing role model for this but he is also quick to point out others in our community that are incredible role models. “You look at somebody like Barry Haarde, who’s an older guy who’s had issues in his life but now is riding his bike across the country and now there are guys trying to row across the Pacific Ocean and climb the Seven Summits! The more people like that out there, that are showing other people what’s possible, then I think more people will understand how to pursue their dreams and find success and fulfillment.”

James so fervently believes in this message that he started his own not-for-profit with his siblings and a friend called ST3: Strive Today, Transform Tomorrow that will help support individuals that are chasing amazing dreams. This year ST3 is supporting Barry Haarde’s fifth ride across the country. “My goal is to support people who are doing things that push the limit but also people who are doing that in a responsible way and are being role models for the community.”

James is also going to have a busy year competing. He just completed the Boston Marathon for the 3rd time, will be running the New York City marathon for 1st time, compete in 6 triathlons and is also climbing Mt. Rainier like myself. I can’t wait to hear how all his competitions go and to follow his incredible journey!  If you want to keep up with James, please check out the blog on the ST3 website (www.strivetoday.org) or the ST3 Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ST3Transforms), where he will post recaps of his adventures!

To follow my Mt. Rainier climb stayed tuned on May 23rd and be sure to follow me on social media and twitter for updates and pictures.

James after finishing the Almanzo 100, a 100mi all gravel road race in southeastern Minnesota

James after finishing the Almanzo 100, a 100mi all gravel road race in southeastern Minnesota

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Happy Mother's Day!

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Happy Mother's Day!

This year on Mother’s Day I want to share a story about my mom. Moms have a special place in our hemophilia community. My mom spent countless nights with me in the emergency room and at our treatment center helping get me through bleeds and infusions. She always wanted to protect me and keep me safe but at the same time, she let me live the life I wanted. I’m sure this was a struggle and gave her anxiety, she tells me that all her grey hairs are my fault, but I have to say, I’m really glad she faced her fears and let me live my life.

Since I began my Quest for the Seven Summits I know more of those grey hair have popped up. The anxiety of waiting to hear if I safely made it to the summit of some of the craziest peaks in the world must be unbearable. I don’t think my mom really understands why I want to climb these peaks and what drives me. Honestly, I don’t think most people get it. They see all the dangers and exhaustion and don’t understand how a sane person would want to put themselves through that.

That was until last summer when my mom and dad climbed a 14’er with my wife and I. Colorado is home to some amazing scenery, fantastic wildlife, and 54 mountains over 14,000 feet high, affectionately known as 14’ers. The peaks range from easier hikes to multi-day backpacking trips, but nothing is really easy about getting to the summit of a 14’er. We decided on climbing Mt. Bierstadt, one of the beginner climbs. 

Starting our climb just after sunrise, we went slow to prevent altitude sickness, took a break every hour to drink water and eat some food, and I explained some techniques to make the climb easier. As we approached the summit, the terrain became a rock scramble and finding the trail was a bit more difficult. I went ahead and tried to pick the easiest path. Before we knew it we arrived at the summit! It was such a great experience! Seeing the excitement on my parents’ faces let me know that they understand why I climb…at least a little more . 

We had to leave the summit shortly after arriving and eating our lunch. The notorious afternoon thunderstorms of Colorado were building to the west and I could tell they would reach us soon. I didn’t want us to be above tree line when the storm hit and the lightning came. We would have no where to hide and could be dangerous. As we started down the mountain we ended up hiking in rain and hail, but we missed the lightning. It was a relief to get back to the car and relax and as we drove back to Denver and reflected on the climb.

Having a burger and beer after climbing is always a treat, but chatting with my mom and dad after the climb was amazing. My mom said “After seeing you on the mountain and how safe and aware of your surroundings you are, I am much more comfortable with you climbing.” That meant the world to me. I always tried to explain that I am smart on the mountain and not taking any unnecessary risks; however, it was more fun and impactful to show her! 

As I prepare to climb Mt. Rainier, and the rest of the Seven Summits, I know my mom is worried about me and my safety. I get that. It is my hope that she can now relate to my climbing. She has seen the draw that I have towards the mountains and the connection I have to these incredible places, as well as the personal challenges. She as experienced first hand the rush and sense of accomplishment climbing can give a person. And even though I know it’s hard for her, I know she is proud of me.

I never would have made it where I am today without my mom. We had our ups and downs but I thank her for everything she has done for me. It takes really strong people to raise someone with a chronic condition, and I feel guilty at times for all the stress I have caused her.  Thank you mom for believing in me and allowing me to become the man I always dreamed of being. I love you and Happy Mother’s Day!

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First Hike in 3 weeks! Rainier here we come!

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First Hike in 3 weeks! Rainier here we come!

This past weekend was supposed to be filled with some major Mt. Rainier training but Mother Nature had others plans. Colorado was hit by a storm that dumped snow in the mountains and even some in Denver. Our plan was to climb a couloir, a steep narrow gully on a mountain, but with all the fresh snow, avalanche danger was a bit too high for us to feel comfortable. 

I was disappointed but it might have been a blessing in disguise. My leg wasn't ready for a big climb. I just started walking comfortably earlier in the week so pushing it now could've been bad. Instead of our big climb I was determined to at least get outside. Despite some very wet snow coming down we had a great hike at Lost Creek. 

It's amazing what being in nature does for me. Although I was slow and hesitant with my movement I was excited to be outside in nature and even more determined to get my leg healed and ready to do more! I'm hoping to get some more hikes in this week and I look forward to sharing it with you all soon!

On Saturday I was able to hike for the first time since my hamstring injury and bleed. It was an easy hike which was a great starting point for healing my leg. This hike was not only a great place to start to improve my physical health but also mentally.

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