Skip to comments.Susan Butcher loses battle
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 ...
Damm. God? We're sending you another good one.
...Awwww...That's sad. She was an icon.
Amen. My heart goes out to her husband, David Monson. I'm shocked, just shocked.
She sure was, redhead. And she'll always be loved and remembered. I hope that brings some peace to her family.
I had no idea that she was ill. Prayers for her family.
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.
You beat me to it -- I guess you were there too.
Wow, all of us remembered that saying! LOL
I envied and admired her life. I grieve her death. Prayers for those left behind, both four and two legged.
Where the men are men . . . and the women win the Iditarod!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dang. I'm sorry to hear of her passing.
What a Lady!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wow, how cool!
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.
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.
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.
Iditarod.... few men can complete this journey let alone win it.. If you've never been there, you have no idea.. the challenge..
Prayers up for her and her family and friends.
Rest in peace.
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.
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.
PETA needs to be told to take a hike-- they have a notorious record for killing animals they are supposed to be adopting out.
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.
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)
Always pulled for her, competing against a whole passel of men she was able to come out ahead.
Absolutely. How sad. I got interested in the Iditarod because of her.
You are incorrect.
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
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.
Very sad to hear this. She was truly an inspiration.
That was beautiful, Kathy. Thank you.
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.
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.
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.