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(Update: The team is no longer competing in the official race, however they have decided to do the Pacific row on their own. You can follow their progress at

ATLANTA, May 16, 2016 – Two college students on the University of Georgia rowing team are gearing up to row across the Pacific Ocean in June to raise money and awareness for the genetic blood disorder hemophilia.

Jacob Pope and Chris Lee, third- and fourth-year students, respectively at Georgia, are competing in the Great Pacific Race, a 2,400-mile rowing expedition from the coast of California to Hawaii. Two- and four-person crews will spend an estimated 30 to 80 days rowing at sea. (Boats with sails and engines are prohibited.)

Just completing such a daunting voyage is aspirational enough, but the men have an additional goal of raising community awareness for hemophilia and securing monetary support for related institutions like Hemophilia of Georgia, which helps alleviate the limitations the disorder puts on patients’ lives.

“Hemophilia is a rare bleeding disorder that requires lifelong support and attention, ranging from a qualified treatment to a strong personal network of family, friends and community advocates, in addition to daily personal management of the disorder,” said Maria Manahan, CEO, Hemophilia of Georgia. “It truly takes more than medicine. For over 40 years, Hemophilia of Georgia has been dedicated to providing services and support for people who have hemophilia, von Willebrand Disease and other inherited bleeding disorders.

“Jacob and Chris’ decision to take part in the Great Pacific Race is not just an incredible opportunity to raise awareness for hemophilia and other inherited bleeding disorders, their Row for Hemophilia embodies all that can be accomplished by members of the bleeding disorder community with support, care and determination,” she continued. “We look forward to the amazing work that they will accomplish on and off of the water.”

Hemophilia advocacy and treatment are causes close to the hearts of both students: Pope was actually born with hemophilia, and Lee is currently studying genetics and is fascinated by genetic disorders like hemophilia. Both have high hopes to not only win the race, but to also have an impact.

“I am fortunate to be able to live such an active lifestyle despite having this disorder,” Pope said. “Not everyone with hemophilia is that lucky. I want to use my good fortune to do something that might make a difference—whether it’s to inspire someone else with the disorder or to support programming that helps those with the disorder.”

They have already inspired the risk management community. Origami Risk, the leading provider of risk, insurance and claims management software, is sponsoring the duo’s endeavor across the ocean. Pope, a former intern for Origami Risk, presented the company with the sponsorship opportunity, which then evolved into a corporate social responsibility program called Origami Risk and Rewards.

“Seeing as we’re deeply embedded in the risk management community, we thought it would be appropriate to sponsor one of our team members in a philanthropic endeavor that will require strategizing around risks to achieve success,” said Jon Nichols, executive director of professional services at Origami Risk. “Both Jacob and Chris are impressive young men, and we are proud to be affiliated with their cause and this epic adventure.”

For more information on Jacob and Chris’ quest to complete the Great Pacific Race, please visit

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