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Susan Butcher loses battle
Anchorage Daily News ^ | 08/05/2006

Posted on 08/05/2006 9:59:22 PM PDT by Chena

Four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher died Saturday in a Seattle hospital of complications from a recent bone marrow transplant, a hospital spokeswoman said. She was 51.

(Excerpt) Read more at adn.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Alaska
KEYWORDS: alaska; butcher; cancer; iditarod; obituary; susan; susanbutcher; workingdogs
I was shocked and saddened to hear that Susan Butcher lost her battle today. May God comfort her family and friends, and her beloved dogs. She'll never be forgotten.
1 posted on 08/05/2006 9:59:22 PM PDT by Chena
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To: Chena

2 posted on 08/05/2006 10:03:59 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: Chena

Damm. God? We're sending you another good one.


3 posted on 08/05/2006 10:04:03 PM PDT by null and void (Bipartisanship: when the Stupid Party & the Evil Party agree on something that is both stupid & evil)
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To: Chena

RIP, Susan.


4 posted on 08/05/2006 10:05:19 PM PDT by butternut_squash_bisque (The recipe's at my FR HomePage. Try it!)
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To: Chena

...Awwww...That's sad. She was an icon.


5 posted on 08/05/2006 10:07:09 PM PDT by redhead (Alaska: Step out of the bus and into the food chain)
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To: null and void

Amen. My heart goes out to her husband, David Monson. I'm shocked, just shocked.


6 posted on 08/05/2006 10:07:42 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: redhead

She sure was, redhead. And she'll always be loved and remembered. I hope that brings some peace to her family.


7 posted on 08/05/2006 10:08:51 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: Chena

I had no idea that she was ill. Prayers for her family.


8 posted on 08/05/2006 10:13:30 PM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: Chena
RIP Susan Butcher. It was because of her that I first heard about the Iditarod. Her efforts and winnings put that race on the map! She was a true pioneer - first to take a sled/dogs to the top of Mount McKinley, as well.


9 posted on 08/05/2006 10:13:58 PM PDT by NotJustAnotherPrettyFace
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To: NotJustAnotherPrettyFace
Alaska, where men are men, and women win the Iditarod!

1049 miles of frozen landscape, huge burns to traverse and ground blizzards that could kill (you , your dogs or both).

RIP Susan, enjoy your peace now.
10 posted on 08/05/2006 10:19:55 PM PDT by ASOC (The phrase "What if" or "If only" are for children.)
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To: Chena
After Susan Butcher won the Iditarod, a very popular tee-shirt throughout the north (Yukon as well as Alaska) said: "Alaska: Where men are men, and women win the Idatarod".
11 posted on 08/05/2006 10:21:05 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: NotJustAnotherPrettyFace

I've followed the Iditarod ever since I was a little girl and my father introduced us to the wonders of Alaska and the Iditarod too. I remember when the first woman, Libby Riddles, won the Iditarod, and Susan was next in line to prove that women can compete AND win. "Alaska: Where Men are Men and Women win the Iditarod". Ahhhh, that phrase sold ALOT of t-shirts and bumper-stickers.


12 posted on 08/05/2006 10:21:33 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: ASOC

You beat me to it -- I guess you were there too.


13 posted on 08/05/2006 10:22:00 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: ASOC; USFRIENDINVICTORIA

Wow, all of us remembered that saying! LOL


14 posted on 08/05/2006 10:22:46 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: Chena

I envied and admired her life. I grieve her death. Prayers for those left behind, both four and two legged.


15 posted on 08/05/2006 10:23:42 PM PDT by BruceysMom (I'm hot & not in a good way: menopause ain't for sissies)
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To: Chena
ALASKA

Where the men are men . . . and the women win the Iditarod!

16 posted on 08/05/2006 10:26:49 PM PDT by Bear_Slayer (When liberty is outlawed only outlaws will have liberty.)
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To: Chena

Shoot, we were just up there last week on the riverboat cruise. I know it couldn't have been Susan who was giving the demonstration on the sled dogs, but it sure looked like her. My wife will be sad to hear this.


17 posted on 08/05/2006 10:30:08 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: BruceysMom

She was such an inspiration. She leaves behind not only her beloved husband, but also two young daughters....only 10 and 5 years old. Perhaps someday they will follow in their mother's footsteps. For now, we'll be keeping them all in our prayers.


18 posted on 08/05/2006 10:31:00 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: Larry Lucido

In spite of the fact I live up here, I've never gone on the riverboat tour. One of these days I will. I wish I had gone when Susan was still able to host the demonstrations.


19 posted on 08/05/2006 10:33:11 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

Worked the race as a ham and later with GCI, the communications sponser.

Sort of been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Too old now tho : ( just too cold for me in the bush.


20 posted on 08/05/2006 10:35:04 PM PDT by ASOC (The phrase "What if" or "If only" are for children.)
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To: Chena

Dang. I'm sorry to hear of her passing.
What a Lady!


21 posted on 08/05/2006 10:35:05 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life)
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To: Chena

Are you on the river? It's a lovely place. If we hadn't taken the guided tour I don't think we could have seen a fraction of what we did.


22 posted on 08/05/2006 10:37:10 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: All

I have to sign off now, but I do thank all of you who have stopped by to post your respects and prayers for Susan Butcher and her family. I'll check back in when I can to read the rest of the posts. I'm sure the Iditarod committee will be honoring the life and times of Susan Butcher when Iditarod time rolls around again.


23 posted on 08/05/2006 10:37:53 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: Chena; redhead; Kathy in Alaska; All
Not only was I unaware that she was sick, I never even heard of her before.

I read fast though.

She sounds as if she was a woman after my own heart.

I also have been reading about the Iditerod over the last few years.

It seems that there was an outbreak of Diphtheria, and Alaskan communities were in many cases rather isolated during the Winter months just a few decades ago before the Alaskan bush pilot phenomenon became manifest. Way before actually.

The Iditerod celebrates the great effort of heroes who engaged themselves on a jaunt which required terrific sacrifice, great stamina, and little reward.

What a wonderful tribute it truly is to those heroes.

Too bad for us all that this woman has met our Maker so prematurely. I will grieve, at least for a time.
24 posted on 08/05/2006 10:38:26 PM PDT by Radix (Somehow, my Flux Capacitor got crossed up with my Interocitor.)
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To: Larry Lucido

No, we live in the eastern Interior. My father nicknamed me after the Chena river years ago when he was stationed at what was then, the Ladd AFB, in Fairbanks.


25 posted on 08/05/2006 10:38:59 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: Radix

Read up on Susan, and Libby Riddles too. Amazing stories lived by amazing women. And the Iditarod....well, it's just one of the most grueling and challenging man/women/dog vs nature ever witnessed.


26 posted on 08/05/2006 10:42:59 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: Chena

Wow, how cool!


27 posted on 08/05/2006 10:46:03 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Radix
Radix...she was a classy lady. LOL! She even took her dogs and a sled and was on one of the night shows...Letterman or Leno or ???? She really loved her dogs, as most all mushers do. She rotated them in and out of the house. She's been fighting an uphill battle. The movie, Balto, is a cartoon, but tells the story.

She will be missed.

RACING ACROSS ALASKA'S WILDERNESS

"I have been known to walk in front of my team for 55 miles, with snow shoes, to lead them through snow storms, in non-racing situations, where I could have just as easily radioed for a plane to come and get me."

Susan Howlet Butcher was an animal lover, a business woman, a wife and a mother. She was also called "the best competitive dog sled racer in the universe." Before her, there were many women who competed in sports, but not many who entered the race called the Iditarod, one that took her 1,152 miles across the Alaskan wilderness, enduring 100 m.p.h. winds, artic blizzards, snow blindness, wild animals, thin ice, sleep deprivation, avalanches, and whatever else mother nature felt like throwing at a person up in the land of the midnight sun.

Butcher won this race wins four times in a row, so often that "Iditarod," as well as the sport of mushing, became synonymous with her name.

It would be hard to say whether Alaska found Butcher or Butcher found Alaska. Drawn to the great northern wilderness from her love of animals and disdain for cities when she was 20 years old, she became an outspoken advocate for wildlife and the environment, and educated the public about caring for dogs and cats.

Combining an arduous training schedule for herself and her dogs with an ability to focus on a goal with extraordinary discipline and singleminded force, Susan Butcher was a true champion -- one of those few who are able to dominate a sport to the extent that, in the minds of millions, they become unofficial spokespersons for anything to do with it.

The rest of the story

Whoa....She grew up in Boston....both of these stories need a fact checker, but aren't too bad. You can Google stories about her.

Susan's web site

28 posted on 08/05/2006 10:57:52 PM PDT by Kathy in Alaska (~ God Bless and Protect Our Brave Protectors of Freedom~)
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To: Chena
Rest in Peace, Susan...you will be missed.


Amazing Grace

29 posted on 08/05/2006 11:02:18 PM PDT by Kathy in Alaska (~ God Bless and Protect Our Brave Protectors of Freedom~)
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To: Chena

A very inspiring lad, and a noble spirit.
Are we really having an epidemic of breast cancer? So many good ones seem to be taken in this way.


30 posted on 08/05/2006 11:12:06 PM PDT by Fairview
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To: Chena

Iditarod.... few men can complete this journey let alone win it.. If you've never been there, you have no idea.. the challenge..


31 posted on 08/05/2006 11:26:50 PM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole..)
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To: Chena

Prayers up for her and her family and friends.


32 posted on 08/05/2006 11:29:36 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: Chena

33 posted on 08/05/2006 11:34:46 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life)
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To: Chena

Rest in peace.


34 posted on 08/05/2006 11:37:48 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Cheney X -- Destroying the Liberal Democrat Traitors By Any Means Necessary -- Ya Dig ? Sho 'Nuff.)
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To: Kathy in Alaska

Iditarod, Susan's race, makes the Boston Marathon look like a 100 yard dash at a church picnic. She was so good, her name will rank with legends like Ruth, DiMaggio and Peyton.


35 posted on 08/05/2006 11:50:08 PM PDT by Vigilanteman
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To: Vigilanteman
One can only hope that her name will be remembered outside of Alaska. There are "people", like PETA that continue to try to shut the Iditarod down. They want it gone and forgotten.

I'm not sure folks understand that the race is run alone, without anything resembling sleep, let along much rest, that they don't stop each night at a hotel, have hot meals...that caring for their dogs comes before anything they do for themselves....and in weather conditions often indescribable.

She is indeed a legend.

36 posted on 08/06/2006 12:04:08 AM PDT by Kathy in Alaska (~ God Bless and Protect Our Brave Protectors of Freedom~)
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To: Kathy in Alaska
I was aware of most of this, but I also beleive that losing a dog in the race disqualifies them. So it isn't who drives their dogs the hardest, it is who motivates them the best. I beleive Susan never lost a dog in the race. As the son of a veterinarian, I can tell when animals love their owners. Everytime I saw Susan on TV, it was obvious how much her dogs loved her.

PETA needs to be told to take a hike-- they have a notorious record for killing animals they are supposed to be adopting out.

37 posted on 08/06/2006 12:15:04 AM PDT by Vigilanteman
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To: Vigilanteman

I'm no expert, but I doubt that any musher, or the top contenders anyway, has not lost at least one dog. The dogs have the same types of issues as the star athlete who goes down, to find out later of an unknown condition. There are vets at every checkpoint, and I believe they check each dog. Odd things happen, no matter how much care is taken.

Susan had to drop out one year when a moose charged her team, killing a couple dogs and injuring more.


38 posted on 08/06/2006 12:48:38 AM PDT by Kathy in Alaska (~ God Bless and Protect Our Brave Protectors of Freedom~)
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To: Chena

Her husband's been keeping a blog, and it's been heartbreaking to read about the complications (GVH) and then the return of the leukemia. She's been so very ill, but she was a fighter to the end.

If you want to read her husband's blog, here's the link
(enter "butcher" and "butcher 1" for access)

http://www.thestatus.com/index.cfm?fa=patient_login&sid=0


39 posted on 08/06/2006 2:29:32 AM PDT by dawn53
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To: Chena

Always pulled for her, competing against a whole passel of men she was able to come out ahead.


40 posted on 08/06/2006 3:42:13 AM PDT by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: redhead
She was an icon.

Absolutely. How sad. I got interested in the Iditarod because of her.

41 posted on 08/06/2006 3:55:29 AM PDT by radiohead (Hey Kerry, I'm still here; still hating your lying, stinking, guts you coward.)
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To: Vigilanteman
but I also beleive that losing a dog in the race disqualifies them.

You are incorrect.

42 posted on 08/06/2006 8:45:26 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Chena

In recognition of the spirit it takes to compete, let alone win, the Iditarod, folks should consider some of the rules.

Rule 16 -- Mandatory Items: A musher must have with him/her at all times the following items:
• Proper cold weather sleeping bag weighing a minimum of 5 lbs.
• Ax, head to weigh a minimum of 1-3/4 lbs., handle to be at least 22” long.
• One pair of snowshoes with bindings, each snowshoe to be at least 252 square inches in size.
• Any promotional material provided by the ITC.
• Eight booties for each dog in the sled or in use.
• One operational cooker and pot capable of boiling at least three (3) gallons of water at one time.
• Veterinarian notebook, to be presented to the veterinarian at each checkpoint.
• An adequate amount of fuel to bring three (3) gallons of water to a boil.
• Cable gang line or cable tie out capable of securing dog team.

When leaving a checkpoint adequate emergency dog food must be on the sled. (This will be carried in addition to what you carry for routine feeding and snacking.)

Rule 21 -- Motorized Vehicles: A musher may not be accompanied by or accept assistance from any motorized vehicle that gives help to the musher, including aircraft and snow machines, except when recovering a loose dog or driverless team.

Rule 33 -- Killing of Game Animals: In the event that an edible big game animal, i.e., moose, caribou, buffalo, is killed in defense of life or property, the musher must gut the animal and report the incident to a race official at the next checkpoint. Following teams must help gut the animal when possible. No teams may pass until the animal has been gutted and the musher killing the animal has proceeded. Any other animal killed in defense of life or property must be reported to a race official, but need not be gutted.

Rule 35 Navigation: Mushers are restricted to the use of traditional forms of navigation. This includes time, distance as known or measured on a map, speed as is computed with simple arithmetic and direction as indicted by magnetic compass. Electronic or mechanical devices that measure speed and direction are prohibited, i.e. Loran, night vision goggles and GPS’.

Rule 48 -- Shipping Amounts: An adequate amount of food is required to be shipped to the following checkpoints (minimum of 60 pounds combined weight of food and gear):
Skwentna, Rainy Pass, Rohn, Nikolai, McGrath, Takotna, Ophir, Iditarod, Shageluk, Anvik, Graying, Eagle Island, Kaltag, Unalakleet, Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Elim, White Mountain, Nome

2007 Iditarod Rules
http://www.iditarod.com/pdfs/2007/2007Rules.pdf


43 posted on 08/06/2006 8:55:30 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Vigilanteman
"I was aware of most of this, but I also beleive that losing a dog in the race disqualifies them. So it isn't who drives their dogs the hardest, it is who motivates them the best. I beleive Susan never lost a dog in the race. As the son of a veterinarian, I can tell when animals love their owners. Everytime I saw Susan on TV, it was obvious how much her dogs loved her."

I agree. I said at the time she won her first race that she won it because she took better care of her dogs than the men in the race. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that she was a woman, and "mothered" them. Of course, I'm not saying that her drive, will to win and prevail, and sheer sportsmanship and athletic ability didn't have anything to do with it, but she was just "different."

Bless you, Susan! You are missed.

44 posted on 08/06/2006 10:58:22 AM PDT by redhead (Alaska: Step out of the bus and into the food chain)
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To: Chena

Very sad to hear this. She was truly an inspiration.


45 posted on 08/06/2006 2:46:51 PM PDT by CheneyChick
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To: Kathy in Alaska

That was beautiful, Kathy. Thank you.


46 posted on 08/06/2006 3:03:19 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: dawn53

I have been to her husband's blog too, dawn53. Thank you for providing that link for our FRiends who may be interested in reading about her courageous battle.


47 posted on 08/06/2006 3:06:35 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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To: Chena

Very, very sad. I have a deep, natural love of hounds (except the two shepards the neighbor lets run wild), and have alot of empathy and understanding of other dog lovers.

Prayers for her family, as well as her fine, proud canines.


48 posted on 08/06/2006 6:25:02 PM PDT by djf (A short fence is mathematically the same as NO FENCE...)
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To: djf

I hope her family finds some comfort in knowing that people from all over the world are sharing in their sorrow and keeping them in their prayers. I regret never having met her. I've been a fan of hers for years.


49 posted on 08/06/2006 6:50:33 PM PDT by Chena (I'm not young enough to know everything.)
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