VASCULITIS: Racing for Life
In my continuing effort to raise Rare Disease Awareness, I carried the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD) Banner across the finish line of the Alaskan Iditarod Sled Dog Race. This 1000-mile race begins the first Saturday in March. It starts in Anchorage and ends in Nome. The connections between disease and the Iditarod provide a great opportunity to continue to raise rare disease awareness.
Iditarod History: “In 1925 when a diphtheria epidemic (one of several devastating epidemics to sweep Alaska in the first part of the century) threatened isolated, icebound Nome. The nearest serum was in Anchorage. A Pony Express-type relay of dog teams was quickly organized. The serum arrived in time to prevent the epidemic and save hundreds of lives.”
On March 18, 2017, after 12 days, 2 hours, 57 minutes, and 31 seconds, I crossed the finish line in Nome carrying the same National Organization of Rare Disorders Banner for the second time. I came in 32 hours faster then my 2015 time and set a new record for the fastest Red Lantern in the 45-year history of the race, by more than 25 hours!
On Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 9:19 PM I crossed the Iditarod finish line in Nome! It took me 13 days, 11 hours, 19 minutes, and 51 seconds. What an incredibly difficult but rewarding experience – to travel 1000 miles across the Alaskan wilderness with my team of amazing canine athletes. And I finally got the NORD (National Organization of Rare Disorders) banner that I held on the summit of Mt. Everest under the burled arch in Nome!