All posts by Cindy

10 Years After My Diagnosis

Wow! After 14 years of searching for answers, 10 years ago, yesterday, I was diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis, a rare and life-threatening disease with no cause, no cure. Since then I have taken life 10-feet-at-a-time and done amazing things: I held the NORD (National Organization of Rare Disorders) Banner on the summit of Mt Everest and at the finish line of the 1000-mile Iditarod. In 2015, NORD awarded me the first-ever Rare Disease Public Awareness Award for my work in rare disease advocacy. Forrest Gump was right, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” I took what I got and ran with it, literally. 


Banana meets the Beams. My long-time friends, Bill and Terri just arrived at the kennel. As a student at Cal State Fullerton, Bill was my mentor. During my graduate years we became friends. We later became colleagues and he is now the retired Kinesiology Chair. When I was diagnosed with Wegeners, he was the second person I told (Larry was the first). And throughout my journey up mountains and running sled dogs across Alaska, he and Terri have been among my greatest supporters. I am so excited that they are here to experience a taste of our Alaskan life.

My Two Red Lantern Awards Meet

My two Red Lantern Awards meet. Yesterday I gave “My Journey” presentation at the Iditarod’s Summer Teachers Camp. My 2017 award has been at my house while my 2015 award is kept at Dream A Dream Sled Dog Farm. So I thought it was time they met. I am still waiting for the official name plate for the 2017 award. I love this photo because Larry, the World’s Best Husband, is in it. Photo by Terri Hanke.

Mt Everest Summit Anniversary

Mt. Everest: Seven years ago today I stood on the top of the world holding the National Organization of Rare Disorders Banner.

SUMMIT!!!!! After walking up and standing on the summit, I decide it’s safer to sit down and have my photo holding the National Organization of Rare Disorders Banner taken by Scott Woolums. Now, it’s time to take my medication and head down. May 23, 2010 at 9:02 AM Nepal time.

The 2017 Finish Line

One of my favorite photos from the 2017 Race: My team is in the Iditarod finish chute heading for the finish line and I am holding the Red Lantern. Photo by Jeff Schultz

Approaching the finish line holding the Red Lantern, 2017 Iditarod. Photo by Jeff Schultz on Saturday March 18, 2017.
Photo by Jeff Schultz/ (C) 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

2017 Iditarod Finish

On March 18th I crossed the Iditarod finish line in Nome after 12 days, 2 hours, 57 minutes, and 31 seconds on the trail winning my second Red Lantern Award. I beat the fastest Red Lantern time by 1 day, 1 hour, and 45 minutes. The dogs did amazing!!!

This is Panther and Banana in lead. Banana (yellow dog) lead every step of the way – he is an amazing dog and big love bug!