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Your Stories 

Skye Peltier

Skye Peltier stands atop Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico, taking in the beauty around her. Giant mountains covered in snow stretch for miles. Preparing for her final run of the morning, she still feels good but knows her limitations. She’ll need a break before she can ski for the rest of the day. Skye has severe factor VII deficiency. A bleeding disorder that affects women and men in equal numbers, factor VII deficiency is part of Skye’s life, but not the only part. From skiing in New Mexico in December to traveling to Israel and Switzerland in the fall of 1997, Skye doesn’t let factor VII deficiency run her life. She runs it.

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Unlike most people with factor VII deficiency, Skye rarely has soft tissue bleeds. Her joints, with the exception of an elbow that required a synovectomy when she was eleven, are all healthy. She experiences one bleed a year on average, but she says it’s almost never from a sports injury. One of her most recent bleeds happened when she twisted her knee getting into a car.

Swimming, mountain biking, running, skiing–Skye enjoys them all on a regular basis. "At times I push my own limits," she says, and she knows her limits well. "I don’t put myself in situations that I feel are dangerous, that make me uncomfortable." Skye’s understanding of her body comes from experience. She learned early in life what happened if she hid her helmet in the bushes instead of wearing it while riding her bike.

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For Skye, understanding her body’s signals is important to maintaining her health, and she believes that skill is important for everyone. Having completed her first semester in the University of Minnesota’s master’s in public health program, Skye’s focus is on community health education. After earning her degree, this 28 year old says she’d like to work with young people. She currently has a job working with young teenaged girls in the local teen pregnancy prevention program, fielding their questions and offering support. She has also worked several summers as a counselor at bleeding disorders camp.

As a young teen, Skye’s support came from her mother. Soon after her very heavy first period, Skye’s mom put Skye in charge of her own care. It was up to Skye to decide what activities she could and could not handle, to call the coag lab when necessary, to learn to manage her condition on her own. Skye’s doctor supported her mother’s decision and reinforced its message. He and Skye designed her treatment plan together, and Skye soon realized that she was much more apt to follow a treatment course that she herself developed.

Not only does Skye pay attention to her body’s needs and make her voice heard in her treatment decisions, she encourages her campers and the young women she meets in her job to do the same. As she works for her master’s degree, travels, and gets married later this year, she’ll continue to be active and to help kids find their own voices.

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