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Cindy Abbott On Climbing Mt. Everest And Competing in the Iditarod While Battling A Rare Disease

May 25, 2013

Cindy Abbott at Camp 3 | For TWE Radio

Cindy Abbott


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Cindy Abbott, a courageous adventurer who conquered Mt. Everest, competed in the Iditarod to raise awareness for her rare, life-threatening disease, Vasculitis



Interview: Cindy Abbott On Conquering the Iditarod, Mt. Everest and a Rare Disease

Cindy Abbott at Camp 3 Climbing Everest 20,100/Photo: Scott Woolums

Cindy Abbott climbing Mt. Everest at 20,100 feet/Photo: Scott Woolums

UPDATE 3/20/13–Check out Stacey’s new interview with Cindy on what happened in the race, her injuries and her incredible team of pups

UPDATE 3/14/13–We just received word that unfortunately, Cindy had to scratch from the race yesterday.  It’s been reported that she was 346 miles from the Nome finish and strained a groin muscle.  Congrats on getting that far, Cindy!

UPDATE 3/9/13–Cindy is still in the Iditarod with her 14 dogs.  You can check the standings here.  Go Cindy!

By Stacey Gualandi/March 3, 2013

As someone who has bungee jumped, climbed the Oakland Bridge, and stayed awake for 80 hours in a sleep deprivation study, I thought I was pretty adventurous. Wrong! At 54, Cindy Abbott is competing in the Iditarod (click here to watch the race when live), a treacherous, 1000- mile dog sled race through the Alaskan wilderness from Anchorage to Nome. When she finishes, she will be the first woman to run the Iditarod and summit Mt. Everest, all while living with a rare, incurable disease.

“Some people with this disease can’t even walk their dogs. The doctors would say you shouldn’t be able to do this, but I kept climbing bigger mountains and nothing would happen.”  Cindy Abbott

In 2007, this wife and mother was diagnosed with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, (aka Vasculitis) a potentially life-threatening disorder where the immune system attacks the blood vessels. She knows running in this extreme sport could be costly in more ways than one, but she is determined to raise awareness of the National Organization of Rare Disorders.

I spoke to Cindy this week just days before she began this journey. She is in remission, but facing many obstacles, including a frustratingly persistent cold and cough. But as Cindy wrote in her book, Reaching Beyond the Clouds, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”… [Read more…]