As the sun illuminates the trail-packed snow in the cool, crisp air of northern Minnesota, Ricq Pattay prepares to hook up his dogsled and brave the cold for a cause.
For a third year, Pattay, a senior analyst and programmer with the Academic Health Center Information Systems, will participate in Mush for a Cure to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
He and his team of five Samoyeds and one Alaskan husky will take on 24 miles of the Gunflint Trail, a scenic route north of Grand Marais.
Pattay is excited to be involved with the event as it has seen significant growth in its impact over the past five years. Since the first Mush for a Cure in 2007:
• Over $141,000 raised and donated to National Breast Cancer Foundation
• Over 50 participants have signed up, an increase from an original four in 2007
• A steady increase in sponsorship has occurred
Mush for a Cure is a win-win for Pattay because not only does it help raise funds to help fight a deadly cancer, it allows him to do something he loves.
Dogsledding has interested Pattay ever since he moved to Minnesota from the warmer climate of North Carolina.
“I’ve always loved winter,” said Pattay. “I moved to Minnesota specifically for the weather.”
After arriving to Minnesota, Pattay decided he’d like a few more dogs to accompany his lone Samoyed. Since then, he has been hooked on the rush of guiding the team through the trails.
“Whether we’re winding through forests, crossing open prairies, following frozen rivers, or traversing a snow-packed lake, I can’t get enough of it,” said Pattay.
Not only does Pattay get a kick out of the ride, his dogs love what they do as well.
“As each team moves to the starting line and takes off down the trail, the excitement builds, especially when the decibel level increases,” Pattay said. “Dogs and humans alike can feel the adrenaline in the air.”
Making a difference
Even though there are many other participants heading towards the finish line, Pattay isn’t in it to win it. He sees the event as an opportunity to enjoy the wilderness, help with a cause he believes in and let his dogs do what they do best.
“I know several survivors of this disease, some of them fellow mushers, and I am proud to do anything I can to help,” said Pattay.
To learn more about Mush for a Cure check out their official website.
If you’d like to donate on Pattay’s behalf, you can do so online through his donation page.