Bombardier ’07 returns to campus for screening of Bombardier Blood
Chris Bombardier’s journey was made for the big screen.
The Doane alumnus became the first person in the world with severe hemophilia B to summit Mount Everest on May 22, 2017. Just over seven months later, he became the first hemophiliac to ever conquer the Seven Summits, climbing to the top of the highest peak on each continent.
Chris’ journey to climb Mount Everest was captured by filmmaker Patrick James Lynch and his award-winning production team at Believe Limited. The result… Bombardier Blood.
Bombardier Blood first debuted in October at the National Hemophilia Foundation’s annual conference in Orlando, Florida and on Tuesday, the documentary was shown at Doane University’s Crete campus to Doane students, faculty, staff, and community members. Bombardier Blood will be shown at private screenings across the country, but Tuesday’s showing at Doane is the lone screening scheduled in Nebraska.
Bombardier ’07 returned to Doane for the screening as part of the Hansen Leadership Speaker Assembly Series, introducing the film and then speaking to the audience through a Q&A session after the film.
The visit to the Crete campus marked the first time Bombardier had been back to campus since 2015, when he received Doane’s Young Alumni Award.
“Everytime I come back to Doane a lot of memories come back,” Bombardier said. “I have so many good memories here and I think Doane really helped shape who I’ve become. It’s fun to be back where it all started in a way.”
The film provides a raw, emotional look at Chris’ journey and includes remarkable footage of Chris climbing Mount Everest.
One of the most frequent questions Chris receives, how he got into climbing mountains, was again brought up Tuesday evening. He says he first got interested in mountaineering after graduating from Doane and realizing that he missed the adrenaline rush, challenges, and competition that baseball provided as a college athlete.
While working at the University of Colorado Hemophilia Research Lab, he was offered the opportunity to travel to Kenya as part of a humanitarian mission to help those with hemophilia. On this trip, he decided that he wanted to attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African continent. That trip, he says, was life changing. It gave him a first-hand look at the disparity in health care in impoverished countries, in particular those with hemophilia.
“You see these children with hemophilia who won’t make it to 10 years old,” he said. “I felt like I needed to do anything I could to help them.”
The experience also was eye-opening for obvious reasons, reaching the top of a mountain with an elevation of over 19,000 feet. The adrenaline rush, challenges, and competition-aspect that he missed from his playing days at Doane was rediscovered through climbing Kilimanjaro. Yes, it provided serious risks with his hemophilia, but once again, Chris proved that nothing would slow him down.
Bombardier later became involved with GutMonkey, an outdoor experiential education company that has close ties to the hemophilia community. Through outdoor experiences, the company facilitates emotional and physical growth for people with a chronic medical condition. The more he interacted with fellow “blood brothers,” or hemophiliacs, he realized it was his calling to do something extraordinary to raise awareness and funding for hemophilia care.
“I wanted to do something different with my life and follow some sort of dream,” Chris says. “When I was younger, I thought it would be winning the World Series. Conquering the Seven Summits became that same obsession.”
Chris summited the highest mountain in South America, Aconcagua, in February 2013, and Europe’s highest, Mount Elbrus, in July that same year. He conquered Denali in July 2014 and Carstensz Pyramid in 2015.
Everest provided a challenge unlike any other mountain, however, and required serious preparation and training. He spent six months in a rigorous training program, forcing him to get into the best shape of his life. In total, Chris spent 63 days in Nepal, 45 of which were spent on Everest.
The attention Chris received after conquering Everest, from news headlines to viral Facebook posts, helped raise thousands of dollars for those with hemophilia. In total, his climbs have raised over $100,000.
Chris summited Mt. Vinson in Antarctica in January 2019, completing the Seven Summits. Since then, he has traveled around the country for speaking engagements, film screenings, and recently was named Executive Director of Save One Life, a nonprofit organization that offers direct financial assistance to people with bleeding disorders in 13 developing countries.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Chris says. “It’s wild to look back and think about everything that’s happened.”
To read more about Chris’ journey, visit here to read his cover story in the Fall 2017 edition of Doane Magazine.
For more information on Bombardier Blood, visit their website at bombardierblood.com.