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, resilience, and hope. As the only woman in the world to have both summited Mt. Everest (at age 51) and completed the Iditarod (at age 56), she shows the impossible is possible, if taken 10-feet-at-a-time!

In 2007, at the age of 48, Cindy 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 her book, 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, Cindy completed her 2nd Iditarod, again receiving the Red Lantern Award. This year she broke the fastest Red Lantern time in the race’s 45-year history 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 of her journey, 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.

Join Cindy on this remarkable journey and know the pain and joy of Reaching Beyond the Clouds.

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.

  • Topics: Resilience, Inspirational, Motivational, Adversity, Empowerment, Adventurer, Rare Disease Advocate, Visionary Entrepreneur, Healthcare, and Education.