Hello, my name is Russ Simpson. In 2007, my Primary Care Physician noticed a lesion and thought it looked suspicious. It had changed color and shape. She referred me to a dermatologist. Two days later I had the lesion removed from my left shoulder and biopsied . Then I received the call to inform me I had a melanoma. I was one of the lucky ones; it had not gone down far enough to require additional treatment.
All I knew about melanoma was that several people I knew died from it. I realized that my ignorance could have cost me my life. I decided to learn everything I could about melanoma, and have skin checks every 6 months by a board certified dermatologist.
I now have a greater appreciation for life and it has made me more open to try new things. One of these new things is snowmobiling, or called snow machining if you are from Alaska. For the last 6 winters, I have done long distance trail snowmobile riding in Maine and Canada. Racing at 70 mph across Maine’s Rangely Lake in Arctic temperatures gets me fired up.
Several years ago, I heard about a race in Alaska called the Iron Dog. The longest and toughest race in the world. The course covers over 2,000 miles from Wasilla to Nome, and to Fairbanks, through some of the most rugged country in this last frontier.
Should I do it? How could I possibly devote the necessary time to train? People kept discouraging me, but something was pushing me in this direction. I kept coming back to it, kept thinking about it, kept praying about it, and finally it hit me. I came up with a plan that would combine 2 passions. I am training and entering the 2012 Iron Dog Snow machine race which will enable me to draw attention to skin cancer awareness and fund research.
Follow my training on FACEBOOK!
Photo by: Blackberry Creek Photography