Cal State Fullerton lecturer with rare disease to climb Mt. Everest

Cindy L. Abbott, a proud Titan, sports a Cal State Fullerton banner at Peak Lenin in Kyrgyzstan.
Cindy L. Abbott, a proud Titan, sports a Cal State Fullerton banner at Peak Lenin in Kyrgyzstan. Photo by Scott Woolums

FULLERTON - A Cal State Fullerton lecturer suffering from a rare and fatal disease said she will climb Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on Earth, sometime in mid-May, it was reported today.

Cindy L. Abbott suffers from Wegener's Granulomatosis, a disease with no cure which causes inflammation of blood vessels, restricting blood flow and damaging kidneys, lungs and other organs, the school said in a newsletter.

``My immune system is down from the immunosuppressant medication I'm taking to control the disease and I don't know how much longer I have,'' said the part-time health science lecturer. ``I want to live life to the fullest.''

Abbott leaves for Everest April 1. She will fly to Katmandu, then to Lukla in Nepal before starting on a 10-day trek to base camp, which is about 17,500 feet. Her guide, Scott Woolums, will lead her, three other women and a man on the expedition.

They will train at base camp for three weeks before attempting to summit in mid-May, the school reported.

``Cindy is ready,'' Woolums told a staff newspaper. ``I think the experience will open her perception on her abilities, what she's capable of.''

Abbott, who is seeking sponsors for the equipment she will need, said she expects to return home June 4. She said she is cashing out her retirement savings to pay for her $80,000 trek.

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