Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Lance Mackey diagnosed with cancer again

Iditarod/Mushing fans on facebook were shocked tonight when the four time Iditarod and Yukon Quest champion Lance Mackey posted that he was looking to rehome his top dogs due to his winter plans changing. Mackey then dropped the bombshell that he has once again been diagnosed with cancer. 

"my winter plans just changed yet again .. I was diagnosed with cancer again and being a single father has made shit abit different from my winter plans," the musher wrote. Mackey became a single father last year after his partner Jenne was killed in an ATV rollover accident (Mackey was the one who found her). This year Lance spent a lot of time on a different sort of race track as the musher is also an accomplished race car driver. 

Mackey also had a concerning crash on a race track earlier this summer that he thankfully walked away from.

The champion musher has seen more than his fair share of tragedy. After having a tumultuous childhood, Lance fell on hard times before being diagnosed with throat cancer just as he returned to mushing. Mackey credited his dogs as one of the big reasons he survived the grim diagnosis. Lance would go on to dominate the sport's two long-distance races in the late '00s and early '10s. Mackey's rivalry with the self proclaimed "winningest musher" Jeff King thrilled race fans for several years.

Things seemed to take a major detour as Mackey's personal life unraveled during his divorce, but things began to look bright again as his relationship with Jenne blossomed. They welcomed two children into their family, and Lance's racing took a turn for the better. However, Lance's health was a major setback that had him questioning his ability to continue to race in the sport he loved. Then he lost his mother. He then tested positive for an illegal drug during the 2020 Iditarod and his top 20 finish was stripped from him. The musher entered a rehab program and had just returned home when the ATV accident took Jenne. 

The musher would post about an hour after his initial post that this would not be the end of his mushing career, he just needs what is best for his dogs this year and also just cannot focus on racing this winter. 

There is no doubt that Mackey's determination and just sheer grit will get him far. Hopefully the right team can be found for his top dogs, and that he can focus on kicking cancer's behind again. 

This is a developing story and one that will no doubt be followed closely by many.