NO 2018 IDITAROD FOR ME. NO 2018 IDITAROD FOR ME. Ten years ago when I was diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis, I was determined to not let the disease write the Life-and-Times of Cindy Abbott and I stuck to my training schedule to climb Mt Everest. I told my doctors that I did not have a death-wish, and if anything happened, I would turn around. I would take it, “Ten-feet-at-a-time.” This is how I have lived life ever since, and I have done amazing things. After months of weighting all of the variables, I have come to the conclusion that I will not be running the 2018 Iditarod. I need to re-balance my life on many level: time, finances, stress, and health. While I find peace and joy when I am out running the dogs, this season I have not been myself. Running the Iditarod is a huge 6-month commitment of time and money. I had hoped it would be easier now that our house is built and we live in Alaska. However, the previous years of continuous work and stress have taken a toll on me, at least temporarily. Larry was 100% supportive of me running in 2018, it was completely up to me. Vern has also been 100% supportive of me making the decision which is best for me. Wisdom dictates that I pause and take a breath. There is an awesome dog team at Dream a Dream Dog Farm, even better than the team I ran last year! We will continue to run the dogs at a lesser level with the focus on the 2019 Iditarod. By then, I will be 60 years old! It would be so cool to run the race at the age 60. Thank you for all of your support.
Running the 1000-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race is, without question, the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life, but I love doing it. Does that make sense? The Iditarod Trail Committee’s (ITC) Mission Statement helps explain a little of the Why We Do This:
ITC Mission Statement
“TO PROMOTE, SPONSOR AND SUSTAIN THE WORLDPREMIER SLED DOG RACE ALONG THE IDITAROD TRAIL, WHICH INCORPORATES TRADITIONAL WILDERNESS MUSHING SKILLS, MANDATES THE HUMANE TREATMENT OF DOGS, REFLECTS THE HUMAN WONDER AND CHALLENGE OF ALASKA’S WILDERNESS, CONTRIBUTES TO THE HISTORIC, SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL FABRIC OF ALASKA AND PRESERVES THE HISTORIC CONTRIBUTION AND CONTEMPORARY PRACTICE OF DOG MUSHING”
Fall training has begun. Actually, we started fall training on Sept 1st. Running 2 12-dog teams out of Vern Halter / Dream a Dream Dog Farm. Love those doggies!
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. 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: Seven years ago today I stood on the top of the world holding the National Organization of Rare Disorders Banner.
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