• Lance beats cancer, but insurance won’t cover mounting dental care costs
By Sean Pearson
Lance Mackey is one tough dude.
The four-time Yukon Quest and four-time Iditarod Champion has spent many a long night out on the frigid trail with nothing more than a team of sled dogs and a headlamp for company. With a ruggedness and never-give-up attitude reminiscent of Alaska’s early pioneers, Mackey has surpassed even his own level of toughness with his latest victory over cancer.
The fight, however, hasn’t come without a number of physical, emotional, and even financial scars that Mackey continues to face following his treatment. The 43 year old lost the last of his teeth in January, and his jawbones are currently too weak to support posts and implants.
“I’ll go six-eight months with no teeth,” Mackey explained. “It’s not easy to get used to running around with no teeth.”
Mackey will forgo this year’s Iditarod in favor of competing in shorter racing venues — such as this weekend’s Anchorage Fur Rendezvous race. He vows to return to long-distance racing as soon as he can. And, while he sold many of his veteran sled dogs to help pay medical/dental expenses, shorter courses will provide better training for a new litter of puppies.
Because his insurance does not cover dental care, Mackey has been paying for costly treatments out of his own pocket.
That’s where you come in.
In an effort to raise funds to help offset some of Mackey’s medical expenses, the Down East Saloon will hold a benefit for Lance this Friday, Feb. 28.
It’s not something Mackey himself would ever consider asking for, but friend and supporter Kirsten Ballard set up a Lance Mackey Medical Fund campaign on FundRazr. All money goes toward paying his current medical/dental bills.
The Homer event starts at 3 p.m. Friday, and the public is invited and welcome to attend.
Organizers said this will be a covered-dish event, with activities like live and silent auctions, book signings, photo shoots, Iditarod documentary viewing and a talk by Lance.
Of particular interest locally, the concert portion of Friday’s benefit at the Down East will feature Sabe Flores, Lance’s partner and dog handler. Flores is a singer/songwriter who has created a unique musical blend of vocals and cello.
A showing of the documentary, “Chasing History: Iditarod 2010,” starts at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, and is followed by auctions at 7 p.m. Auction items include unique mushing and Alaska historic items.
(Only cash, checks or money orders will be accepted. Sorry, no credit cards.)
In his Monday Facebook status, Mackey posted that his medical and dental bills — to this point — have been covered. With more expenses soon to come, event organizers said any money in the Lance Mackey Medical Fund will be used for his future expenses.
Donations for the auction can be made by contacting Marlene at the Down East Saloon: 907-235-6002 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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