Abbot, 55, wants to be the first to both climb Mount Everest and to finish the Iditarod. This in spite of a rare incurable, life-threatening disease that inflames blood vessels.
Although she takes medication to control it, the disease has caused her to lose the sight in one eye and she fears losing sight in the other before she can achieve her life goals.
Abbott is a professor of health science at California State University Fullerton, She lives with her husband and daughter.
Although she ran the Iditarod last year, mushers are considered rookies until they complete the race in Nome. Last year she scratched about 350 miles short when it became impossible for her to walk. She was doing her doggie chores on her hands and knees because of what she thought was a muscle tear.
It turns out that her pelvis was fractured in two places.
To prepare for climbing Everest, she climbed Mount Rainier in Washington and Mount Elbrus in Russia. Finally in May, 2010 after a 54 day climb, she reached the summit of Everest holding her “National Organization of Rare Disorders “ banner, which she is carrying on her sled through the race.
After last year's race she has found that long distance sled dog racing has been more challenging than mountain climbing.
"On Everest, I just had to worry about me," she explained. "But with the Iditarod, my focus is solely on the dogs. If it's not good for them, then it's not good for me. We're a team."
Sadly, Cindy scratched at Rohn, citing shoulder strain that could hinder her ability to safely care for her dogs.
As she says, "We're a team."