Octapharma USA, GutMonkey Sponsor Week-long Adventure Trip to San Juan Islands

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by Mary Chapman |

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In keeping with its mission to change how members of the bleeding disorder community think about their condition, Octapharma USA has joined with GutMonkey to provide a challenging week-long, water-based experience aimed at boosting patient confidence in managing disease.

With an Octapharma grant, 10 participants in “Leading X San Juan Islands” are learning boat-travel basics and sharpening their camping and navigation skills, while performing leadership roles, developing personal responsibility, and forming what will hopefully be enduring community ties. All participants on the trip, which lasts until Sept. 22, have hemophilia type A.

The 200 rugged San Juan islands sit between the cities of Seattle, Vancouver, and Victoria, British Columbia, in the Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Rasario Strait. The area’s unspoiled waters contain scores of orca whales, one of the continental United States’ largest bald eagle breeding populations, and an abundance of other wildlife.

“We are beyond thrilled to be partnering with Octapharma to provide the Leading X experience to the bleeding disorder community,” Pat Torrey, founder and CEO of GutMonkey, said in a news release. 

“As outdoor enthusiasts and professionals, all of us working at GutMonkey have personally witnessed the deep positive impact that outdoor adventure programs have on those who get to share in such a unique experience, and are certain that this endeavor will dramatically enhance participants’ lives,” Torrey added.

GutMonkey is a Portland, Oregon-based experiential education company focused on crafting engaging programs that support and direct people toward a wide range of positive healthcare behavior. Its bleeding disorders programs emphasize the often disparate needs of the community.

For Chris Bombardier, who this year became the first hemophiliac to climb the Seven Summits, it’s about getting those with bleeding disorders to set bigger goals. 

“Octapharma’s vision to expand what is possible for the bleeding disorders community is apparent and admirable,” said Bombardier, a GutMonkey program facilitator. 

Not only did the company sponsor Bombardier’s quest to scale the highest peaks on each continent, including Mount Everest, but it will also back “Bombardier Blood,” a documentary that will tell Bombardier’s story.

“Octapharma believes that if patients receive the medical therapies and services they need, the words ‘I can’t’ may just be eliminated from their vocabulary,” Octapharma USA President Flemming Nielsen said.

“We are constantly looking for ways to inspire patients to achieve their personal Everest and are thankful for this exciting opportunity to partner with GutMonkey on Leading X,” Nielsen added.

With a focus on hematology, immunotherapy, and critical care, Lachen, Switzerland-based Octapharma is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of human protein products.

The company recently presented results of a Phase 3b multicenter study (NCT01863758) showing that more than half of patients treated with personalized prophylaxis with Nuwiq saw a reduction in treatment frequency to twice weekly, without compromising the therapy’s benefit. During personalized preventive treatment, 83 percent of patients were bleed-free.

The company’s U.S. subsidiary, Octapharma USA, is based in Hoboken, New Jersey.