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Cathy and Alan Bombardier

To Cathy, Normal is what normal does.
Cathy and Alan Bombardier

We contribute monthly to NHF because we wanted to give back. There have been huge strides in treatment since Chris was born. Despite his hemophilia, Chris is a normal kid. (Okay. I'm his mom, so I think he's better than normal!)

If you saw Chris now, or even 15 years ago, having fun with his friends, swimming at the pool, playing baseball, you may have said "there goes a normal American kid." You'd never imagine he had any problem - especially hemophilia.

I think that being "normal" is every mom's goal for their child - especially if their child has hemophilia. The people at the University of Colorado Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center seemed to know that, too. Early on they gave us "permission" for Chris to be a normal kid. They told us that it was okay for Chris to swim, play baseball, ski, mountain bike and even mountain climb.

The problem is that "normal" never has or ever will describe Chris. It was challenging raising a child with hemophilia, especially when Chris was so adventurous - and still is today.

All my gray hair? It's from Chris!

I added some when I heard that he was going to climb the Seven Summits - highest mountain on each continent! (He's already done two!) He's had a passion for baseball since age four, and he was named co-captain of his college team. He's on the board of two national nonprofit groups at age 27. I don't think any of that's "normal," for a hemophiliac, but Chris does.

The whole idea of "normal" was hard for Chris. He talks about it on his web site, Adventures of a Hemophiliac. "Life wasn't easy or normal. I hid my hemophilia for a very long time thinking that it made me different from everyone else, and somehow less capable. This couldn't be further from the truth."

As part of his work with "Save One Life," [an organization dedicated to helping children with hemophilia in developing countries] Chris speaks to groups in the countries where he climbs, and to kids and families at local hemophilia events. Chris inspires kids with hemophilia so they can do what they never thought they could do. He wants their lives to be as normal as his.

The support for people with hemophilia here in Colorado has come a long way since Chris was born. Today, every child has a chance to live a normal life, despite their condition.

For us, our monthly gifts to NHF have been as normal as having Chris as our son.