HOBOKEN, N.J. (August 29, 2017) - Octapharma USA sponsored the National Hemophilia Foundation's 69th Annual Meeting in Chicago and provided a patient symposium sharing the inspirational stories of three young men with bleeding disorders, including Chris Bombardier, who recently became the first person with severe Hemophilia to summit Mount Everest. Octapharma also sponsored Bombardier's climb of the historic mountain in Nepal.
"My journey up Mount Everest was not only a dream come true for me personally, but a statement that the frontiers of what someone with hemophilia can do have changed," said the Denver, Colorado mountain climber, who is the subject of the documentary Bombardier Blood. "Dreams that seemed unreachable decades before are now within our grasp and dreams of all shapes and sizes can be accomplished with proper treatment. Unfortunately, this access to care is not equitable throughout the world and something that I believe our community should rally around. My journey to the highest point in the world, within an impoverished nation without access to treatment, highlights this disparity in care and will hopefully inspire others to make positive change within their own lives and advocate for change globally."
Octapharma USA President Flemming Nielsen said the symposium was an opportunity for the company to offer a program that would motivate and inspire attendees.
"We really believe it is important for families and patients to understand they can have a good quality of life while managing their bleeding disorder," said Nielsen. "We are determined to help patients maximize their quality of life. While not everyone can climb Mount Everest, with the right support, we hope that most patients can enjoy a healthy life, one without limits."
Bombardier Blood Director Patrick James Lynch, a filmmaker with severe Hemophilia and CEO of Believe Limited, told Octapharma symposium attendees that Bombardier's climb of the world's tallest peak was groundbreaking. Please visit www.bombardierblood.com for a behind the scenes look at the making of the documentary, which will be released in 2018.
"It's proof that Hemophilia does not define anyone; it's the access to sustainable, predictable treatment for Hemophilia that defines us," the Los Angeles, California resident said. "Only a few years ago, it would have been unheard of for someone with Hemophilia to be summiting the world's tallest mountains. Now, Chris has, thanks to the life-sustaining treatments that are available to him. Meanwhile, those born with severe Hemophilia in Nepal are statistically fortunate to live past 10 years old. With Bombardier Blood and Chris' historic accomplishment, we are seeking to celebrate the modern-day possibilities of life with Hemophilia while simultaneously spotlighting the unfortunate realities of those without adequate access to treatment. Chris and I are extremely grateful for the support of Octapharma and Octapharma Chairman Wolfgang Marguerre not only for the Everest climb and documentary, but also their consistent history of supporting Hemophilia patients in both the developed and developing worlds. We are also grateful for the support and collaboration from Save One Life and its founder Laurie Kelley."
Mechanical engineer Seth Rojhani, a paraplegic with Hemophilia A, also addressed symposium attendees on his recent experience as a member of the Bronze Medal-winning Team USA wheelchair basketball team at the 2017 Maccabiah Games in Israel.
"It was a great experience on many levels, an honor to represent our country at these games and play in an international competition in the sport I love," said Rojhani, a Denver, Colorado resident who has been playing the sport for 15 years. "It was also great to be in Israel, such a historic place, for the first time. I have always believed that life presents us with challenges, but if we continue to work hard and think positive good things will happen. My opportunity to compete for Team USA against athletes from around the world and exceed our expectations by winning a Bronze Medal is living proof that anything is possible."
Octapharma USA has created the Facebook page Supporting Bleeding Disorders to share inspiring patient stories and educational information. Please visit the page at www.facebook.com/SupportingBleedingDisorders/.
About the Octapharma Group
Headquartered in Lachen, Switzerland, Octapharma is one of the largest human protein products manufacturers in the world and has been committed to patient care and medical innovation since 1983. Its core business is the development and production of human proteins from human plasma and human cell lines. Octapharma employs approximately 7,100 people worldwide to support the treatment of patients in over 113 countries with products across the following therapeutic areas: Hematology (coagulation disorders), Immunotherapy (immune disorders) and Critical Care. The company's American subsidiary, Octapharma USA, is located in Hoboken, N.J. Octapharma operates two state-of-the-art production sites licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), providing a high level of production flexibility. For more information, please visit www.octapharmausa.com.