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Blind Ambition: Woman Set for Iditarod Sled Race

Rachael Scdoris will begin a snow-bound trek Saturday, one of more than six dozen mushers in the grueling Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

While the course -- some 1,100 miles over rough terrain in bitter cold -- is difficult enough, the 20-year-old Scdoris faces another challenge: She is legally blind.

Scdoris suffers from congenital achromatopsia, a genetic disorder that affects the eye's ability to take in images. Her father, Jerry, is a champion musher who in 2003 founded the Atta Boy 300 Oregon World Cup "Race for Vision," which promotes research in ophthalmology.

The Iditarod race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, will not be the first sled dog race for Scdoris, of Bend, Ore. At 15, she entered Wyoming’s IPSSSDR competition, the largest sled dog race not held in Alaska, and became the youngest person to have completed the nearly 500-mile race.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.