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5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go! Donlin Gold and ExxonMobil send Wish Kids on Iditarod

Lauren is ready to go at the 2014 Iditarod ceremonial start.
Under a bright blue sky, two Make-A-Wish children from the Anchorage area participated in the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Instead of thinking about their medical conditions, these two kids had the chance to live in the moment and take part in Alaska's most famous sporting event.

Nine-year-old Connor, battling Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, rode in the sled with musher Peter Kaiser. Connor, from Prosser, Washington, might be new to Alaska, but he has already experienced what it's like to fly through the woods behind a team of Alaskan Huskies. "He really enjoyed himself and we were so happy to be part of his Iditarod experience," said Team Kaiser. Connor’s favorite moment of the day came when a fan tossed him a box of Girl Scout cookies and a hot dog. The Iditarod was just the beginning of Connor’s wish experience; after the snow settles from his adventure, Connor will fly to Legoland in Orlando for his wish trip.

Ten-year-old Lauren, battling Wilms Tumor, was hardly able to muster the strength to see the Iditarod last year. Her mom took her out to the trail in a sled because Lauren was so exhausted from cancer treatment. This year was an entirely different experience. With bursts of energy and a beaming smile, Lauren practiced her wave and watched the dogs get ready to run. When Lauren climbed into Alex Buetow's dog sled, she was ready to experience her own piece of the Iditarod Trail. “It was absolutely a wonderful day,” said Lauren’s mom, Suzanne. “I recognized a confidence in the last couple of days that I had not seen in a long while.”

For Connor and Lauren, when the sled dogs barked, crowds cheered, and spectators handed them hot dogs and treats, these kids weren't thinking about their medical struggles. They were making their own joyous memories along the famous Iditarod Trail.

Special Thanks: Donlin Gold, ExxonMobil, Peter Kaiser, Alex Buetow, Iditarod

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