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SEATTLE, Dec 9, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Susan Butcher, the only woman to win four Iditarod Sled Dog races, is being treated for leukemia in a Seattle hospital.
The Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reports that Butcher must undergo several months of chemotherapy, followed by a bone marrow transplant if a suitable donor can be found.
"Susan will fight this as hard as any person can," her husband, Dave Monson, said in a statement. "She loves her family and she loves her life. That will be what keeps her motivated through the hard times."
Butcher, who grew up in Massachusetts, moved to Alaska at the age of 20 and learned how to breed and handle sled dogs while working for Joe Redington, who founded the Iditarod. While she missed becoming the first woman to win the race when a moose attacked her team in 1985, she won in 1986, 1987 and 1988, making her one of only two mushers to pull off three consecutive victories. She won again in 1991.
Since retiring from dog racing, Butcher has been working as a motivational speaker and raising two daughters.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International