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After years of experiencing the frightening symptoms of a mysterious illness, at the age of 48, and with almost no mountaineering experience, Cindy Abbott decides to climb Mt. Everest. A few months after that fateful decision, she becomes functionally blind in one eye and is subsequently diagnosed with Wegener's granulomatosis, a rare, incurable and potentially life-threatening disease, but she refuses to give up on her dream. In this extraordinary and true story, Cindy Abbott takes us with her into one of nature's most extreme environments while battling a rare disease that turns her own body against her. We join her through the rigorous training that begins less than five months after her diagnosis on Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, where she falls during the descent at nineteen thousand feet, breaks her leg, and is forced to climb down five thousand feet to base camp in order to be helicoptered off the mountain. The experience reveals an inner strength that she utilizes to battle the odds and complete her training. Two years later, speechless and crying, she tears herself from her husband's arms and steps across the thick, black tape of the airport security line. She doesn't look back. She can't. She might change her mind. With tears running down her cheeks, she walks away from the man she loves, the only life she knows, and heads toward the unknown-Mt. Everest. This inspiring and uplifting story demonstrates the depths and strength of human courage and will. Abbott eventually summits Mt. Everest, becoming one of only a few hundred females to stand on the top of the world. In revealing the extremes of both managing her disease and climbing Mt. Everest, she brings hope to others. Join her on this remarkable journey and know the pain and joy of Reaching Beyond the Clouds.
About the Author
Cindy Abbott received her master's degree in kinesiology, graduating summa cum laude from California State University, Fullerton where she taught health science and kinesiology. She was diagnosed with Wegener's Granulomatosis in 2007 and is a rare disease awareness advocate for the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD). As part of her advocacy, Cindy produced a feature-length documentary Banner on the Moon. As a key-note speaker, she continues to share her journey and her message. Cindy retired from teaching in 2016 and moved to Alaska. To date, she is the only woman to have both summited Mt. Everest and completed the 1000-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Cindy travels the world searching for new adventures: climbing mountains, mushing sled dogs, and is an avid SCUBA diver and underwater videographer. A proud wife and mother, she resides in Willow, AK. For more information go to: www.reachingbeyondtheclouds.com