Follow Cindy Abbott

Cindy Abbott at Katmai Lodge Alaska (Part 1 of 3)

Cindy Abbott with her Iditerod Dogs (Part 2 of 3)

Cindy Abbott at the Iditarod Sign Ups (Part 3 of 3)


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The Katmai Lodge Alaska Foundation for Disease and Disability Awareness is proud to be Cindy’s primary sponsor in her goals of becoming the first woman (and second person) to summit Mt. Everest and complete the 1000-mile Alaskan Iditarod Sled Dog Race, two of the world’s most extreme adventure sports.

Cindy Abbott’s focus is to raise awareness for National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD). Ms. Abbott has struggled with Wegener’s Granulomatosis and is blind in one eye.  Despite her many auto immune medications she currently takes, she has successfully climbed Mount Everest and is now trying for the third time to complete the Iditarod Race in Alaska.  She is the first California musher to attempt this and despite physical challenges, including her most recent attempt with a broken pelvis, she continues to draw spectator and media support.

About Cindy

At the age of 48, Cindy Abbott, with almost no mountaineering experience, and a rare, incurable and life-threatening disease, decided to climb Mt. Everest.  She was told it was impossible, but she proved them wrong. On May 23, 2010, after 51 days of working her way up the mountain, she stood at the top of the world holding a NORD Banner, and became the 40th American female to summit Mt. Everest. This created both national and international media coverage (ABC, World News with Diane Sawyer, NPR, newspapers, magazines, awards, etc.) But it was not enough. She started speaking on behalf of rare disease awareness to all kinds of organizations from medical to political. But it still was not enough. She wrote and self-published a book, REACHING BEYOND THE CLOUDS: From Undiagnosed to Climbing Mt. Everest.  But she still was not satisfied; she needed to do something extraordinary to bring rare disease out of the darkness and into the light.

So once again, she is reaching for the unreachable – to become the first woman (and second person) to summit Mt. Everest and complete the 1000-mile Alaskan Iditarod Sled Dog Race, two of the world’s most extreme adventure sports. For this, she is not going to rely on the fleeting effects of media coverage; she is producing a feature-length documentary film to bring rare disease awareness to both national and international audiences.

For more information on media coverage, speaking events, awards, and other information go to

Cindy’s Mission

Cindy on snow machine by Misha Pederson.

Cindy on snow machine by Misha Pederson.

There are 7,000 known rare diseases.  Unfortunately, the people who suffer from these diseases often go for years, even lifetimes, undiagnosed because there is no specific system in place to connect the people with the doctors and treatments that may be able to help.  Many national health-advocacy organizations have implemented programs to bridge this gap, but even in this age of social media and networking, these are not proving effective.  It took Ms. Abbott 14 years of searching before she stumbled onto the fact that she is one of the 30 million Americans who have a rare disease (Wegener’s Granulomatosis).  She proposes that something must be done to accelerate the awareness of rare disease-resources. People are suffering, even dying, because the current programs are not working.  Major changes are needed now… and that is where she comes in.

Through the power of the media, she was going to shine the light on her challenges and NORD; and thus, start building the bridge that would connect not only the general public but also the medical and biotech communities to rare disease resources.