Saving one life can save the world. Founded in 2000, Save One Life is an international nonprofit that aims to improve the quality of life and future for people living with bleeding disorders in developing countries through direct financial assistance. Their scholarship program has helped remove financial boundaries for more than 150 students globally and has inspired others to push their personal limits.
Almost twenty-five years ago, Laurie Kelley, the mother of a son with hemophilia, began visiting developing countries to train leaders to start national hemophilia foundations. She visited Pakistan to better understand the needs of their bleeding disorders community and in a two-room home in Karachi, Laurie asked how she could help the impoverished family with two sons, both of whom had hemophilia. The father explained for $20 a month, his eldest son could go to private school to learn English and get a good paying job.
Founded a few years later, Save One Life’s vision is for all people with bleeding disorders in developing countries to have the medical and economic resources necessary to live independent and productive lives. One of the ways they remove financial boundaries and barriers is through their scholarship program that helps students pay for college, which in turn, opens up new opportunities through post-secondary education.
In India, for example, people living with hemophilia without an education are limited in their employment options. They may be unable to take a job that is physically demanding, so education can remove boundaries and limitations. Education enables students to provide for themselves and their families in the future. The programs offered also encourage the development of new leaders advocating for their communities.
Like Laurie, Chris Bombardier is inspired to support the bleeding disorders community. For Chris it’s personal because he has a bleeding disorder - severe factor IX deficiency, also known as hemophilia B. On a trip to Kenya, he realized that while he had the opportunity to accomplish many things, patients in Kenya did not always have access to medical care or treatment that would allow them to do the same. In fact, it was not uncommon for people living with bleeding disorders in the country to not be able to go to school or hold down a job.
Around the same time, Chris met Laurie of Save One Life. He decided he would commit himself to raising awareness of the disparity in treatment for those with bleeding disorders across the world. Now, Chris is the Executive Director of Save One Life where he gets to continue his work to remove boundaries and limitations for people living with bleeding disorders through initiatives like the scholarship program, which has impacted more than 150 students across 10 countries. Funding for the program was historically provided through general fundraisers, but in 2019, Sanofi partnered with Save One Life to expand the reach of the program through consistent funding.