Speaking of Life

From the top of the world, across 1000-miles of Alaskan wilderness,  Cindy Abbott captivates audiences with tales from the trails. Amazing stories of perseverance and resilience, the personification of true grit.  As the only woman in the world to have both summited Mt. Everest and completed the Iditarod, she shows that what might be thought of as impossible may be possible, if taken 10-feet-at-a-time!

In 2007, at the age of 48, she took up mountain climbing with the single goal of standing on the top of the world. A few months after she began training, Cindy was diagnosed with a serious, rare, and potentially life-threatening disease, but she was determined to achieve her dream and on May 23, 2010, after 51 days of working her way up the mountain, Cindy stepped onto the summit of Mt. Everest, holding the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD) banner.

In the following months, she wrote Reaching Beyond the Clouds: From Undiagnosed to Climbing Mt. Everest.

Cindy’s next adventure was to complete the 1000-mile Alaskan Iditarod Sled Dog Race. In 2011, she went to Alaska and immediately fell in love with the sport, the Alaskan people and culture, but most of all, she fell in love with the world’s most amazing athletes – the dogs! On March 22, 2015, after 13 days, 11 hours, 19 minutes, and 51 seconds, she crossed the finish line and held the NORD Banner under the Burled Arch in Nome. Cindy received the Red Lantern Award for Perseverance, a symbol of her determination. On March 18, 2017, after 12 days, 2 hours, 57 minutes, and 31 seconds, Cindy again crossed the finish line in Nome carrying the same National Organization of Rare Disorders Banner and received her 2nd Red Lantern Award, and set a new record for the fastest Red Lantern time in the 45-year history of the race, by 25 hours!

Since her diagnosis, Cindy has become a very active rare disease awareness advocate for the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD). In May 2015, NORD honored Cindy with the Rare Disease Public Awareness Award.

She has appeared on CBS’s The Doctors, The Dennis Miller Show, World News with Diane Sawyer, and NPR’s Take Two and All Things Considered, ABC News, and has been the subject of many  other television, radio, newspaper and magazine stories/articles.

Cindy has also produced a feature-length documentary Banner on the Moon. View film trailer Banner on the Moon.

“My journey shows how adversity can elicit hidden strength, and I hope to inspire people to live life to its fullest and reach for their dreams.” says Cindy.

Cindy is 59 years old and lives with her husband in Willow, Alaska. She is a retired Health Science and Kinesiology Instructor from California State University, Fullerton.

Contact Cindy for availability and speaking fee.

  • Topics: Resilience, Inspirational, Adversity, Women’s Issues, Extreme Sports, Motivational, Adventurer, Rare Disease Advocate, Visionary Entrepreneur, and Education.

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