On Saturday, March 2, 2013, Cindy Abbott will join over 60 other mushers to compete in the The 2013 Iditarod Trail Sled Race billed as “The Last Great Race”.
Please Help Cindy See! Cindy has a special request:
“I project that it will take between 10-11 days for me to complete the 1000-mile Iditarod Race. During that time, I will running my team in darkness and must use a very high-powered lighting system to help compensate for my impaired vision. Based on the race rules, I must bring everything I will use during the race in my sled or in my drop bags – including batteries. I may have a few chances to recharge my batteries but I cannot count on this.
Consequently, I need to start the race with no fewer than 6 large, expensive batteries: I currently have two. I am asking for help to purchase 4 more of these Lupine batteries which cost $310 each. If you wish to help, please go to my donate tab and you may use the PayPal link.” Click here to visit Cindy’s personal website and donate. Thank you in advance for your support.
The annual 1,150-mile sled dog race is run from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. The race course traces parts of the Iditarod Trail, which became a life-saving highway for epidemic-stricken Nome in 1925 when diphtheria threatened the residents of Nome. Serum had to be brought from Anchorage by intrepid dog mushers and their faithful hard-driving dogs to save the town.
Cindy, 54, was born and raised in Nebraska. After graduation from California State University, Fullerton, with a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology in 1996, she became a professor there. She currently lives with her husband, Larry, and daughter, Teshia, in Irvine, California, where she teaches Health Science at California State University, Fullerton.
Cindy has always been drawn to the world of extreme sports. Already an extreme scuba diver and underwater videographer, in 2007, at the age of 48, she took up mountain climbing with the single goal of standing on the top of the world.
Diagnosed with Vasculitis
A few months after she began training, Cindy was diagnosed with a serious and rare disease (Wegener’s granulomatosis), but she was determined to achieve her dream and on May 23, 2010, after 54 days of working her way up the mountain, Cindy stepped onto the summit of Mt. Everest.
Cindy learned about the Iditarod in the early 1990’s, while taking an Environmental Exercise Physiology course. But it wasn’t until 2004, that she came to Alaska and took her first ride on a dog sled. In 2011, she began working under the guidance of Iditarod champion, Lance Mackey, at his Comeback Kennel. She 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!
In 2012, when Cindy crossed the finish line of the YQ300, the race marshal asked her what she thought, and she replied, “That was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced!” With some mid-distance races under her belt, Cindy admits that, for her, racing sled dogs is more difficult than climbing Mt. Everest—something she never thought that she would say.
Raising Awareness of Vasculitis and Rare Diseases
Since her diagnosis, Cindy has become a very active rare disease awareness advocate for the National Organization of Rare Disorders and the Vasculitis Foundation. She lists her hobbies as mountain climbing, SCUBA diving, and international travel.
Cindy will be featured in interviews on NPR on February 28th and in an article in the New York Times!
Follow Cindy on the Trail
Cindy will be wearing a spot tracker so please visit the Iditarod Race website to follow her progress.
Click here to read an article in the Alaska Dispatch about Cindy’s Iditarod experience.