Southern California woman with rare disease plans to scale Mt. Everest

Cindy Abbott holds an ice axe and a medication bottle while on the summit of Mt. Baldy, Calif.
Cindy Abbott holds an ice axe and a medication bottle while on the summit of Mt. Baldy, Calif. Courtesy of Cindy Abbott

Cal State Fullerton lecturer Cindy Abbott suffers from a rare disease, and has lost sight in one eye, but that isn't stopping her from trying to climb one of the world's tallest mountains.

Abbott decided several years ago she wanted to attempt to climb Mt. Everest after seeing the Discovery Channel show, "Everest: Beyond the Limit."

A few months later, she was diagnosed with Wegener's Granulomatosis, a disease that causes inflammation of the blood vessels.

“It’s so rare you go up to doctor you can, any doctor you want, and mention that disease and they’ll have no idea what it is.”said Abbott.

Abbott has already climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mt. Whitney in California. She also broke a leg while attempting to climb Mt. Aconcagua in South America.

Abbott hopes her Everest climb will raise awareness of rare diseases and inspire others in her shoes.

"Before it was just another challenge I put in front of me, but now that I’ve been diagnosed with the disease," said Abbott. "I look at it as an opportunity to show people that have hurdles that we don’t have to let obstacles in our lives necessarily stop us."

Abbott said her plans for after the climb include rewarding her husband for his support with a scuba diving trip. She calls her husband her "soulmate" and said being away from him during the climb will be "harder than climbing that mountain."

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