Chris grew up in the back garden of the big mountains, in the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado. He did not let haemophilia hold him back from his physical passions. From a young age, he played baseball and threw himself into skiing, hiking, ski mountaineering, rock climbing and mountaineering.
Yet, being born in a developed country with access to good healthcare doesn’t mean it's an easy ride. For Chris, staying healthy involves a constant onslaught of infusions as well as regular bleeds, sometimes involving hospitalisation and always involving pain. Chris also has a needle phobia, which adds another layer of struggle when it comes to his treatment needs. Through the years he’s battled with depression, rooted in feeling different from others, and meeting other communities of people living with bleeding disorders has helped him move past this.
Inspirationally, Chris took his love of mountaineering to new heights, quite literally, when he decided to climb all Seven Summits, starting with Kilimanjaro in 2011 and culminating in a gruelling expedition to the roof of the world, Everest, in 2019.
Driving his achievements in the mountains is the singular hope to raise more awareness for others around the world who were not so fortunate in the postcode lottery; those born with bleeding disorders in countries like India and Nepal, who face terrifying fates as a result of misdiagnosis. Left untreated, without essential healthcare and medication, internal bleeding can cause severe joint damage, lifelong disability or early death.
I loved learning more from Chris about:
The impacts of haemophilia on his life and mental health over the years
The medical care required and working through a needle phobia
What happens with a big bleed
Getting started with the Seven Summits and experiences on Kilimanjaro
The challenges of the Everest expedition
The many life lessons taught by haemophilia, and how it can actually help him in the mountains
The challenges developing countries face to treat bleeding disorders and the work of Save One Life
The internal response to being in the spotlight from time to time
Thank you Chris for helping us learn about all of this. Please watch out later this year for his Everest documentary, Bombardier Blood, which I’ll for sure share when I hear about it.
Friends, you can listen and share through the links below, from Friday 8am UK.