'Paddlers Abreast' team of cancer survivors marks 20 years in epic Yukon race

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It was about a year after her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer, and Ava Christl was thinking a lot about her recovery and about other women who shared similar experiences. Then an idea came.

“So in the middle of the night — you know, as these things go — you say, ‘Why don’t we do the Yukon River Quest?'” Christl recently recalled.

“And lo and behold, a bunch of women were crazy enough to say, ‘That sounds like a good idea!’ And so it began.”

That was in 2001. Now, the group that Christl helped found — called Paddlers Abreast — is marking 20 years of paddling through adversity.

Later this month, they’ll again enter all-female team

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