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Wish comes true for cancer survivor

By Shannon Ballard 6:16 PM March 1, 2014

Child cancer survivor experiences Iditarod

ANCHORAGE - Iditarod mushers put a lot of thought into which dogs make up their team.

Ten-year-old Lauren Rust picked her favorites based on how fluffy their tails are.

“I like that one in the front,” she said pointing to the lead dog.

Lauren has never been so close to actual Iditarod dogs.

Saturday, she had the best seat to see them run by riding with her favorite musher, Alex Buetow.

It’s a dream made possible by Make-A-Wish Alaska.

Lauren was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, a form of kidney cancer.

During last year’s Iditarod she was deep into treatment. She was feeling terrible, but still managed to watch the race.

“She was sick and I guess it was hard for me to imagine that a year later things would be so different for us and she would be so healthy and looking so good,” said Suzanne Rust, Lauren’s mother.

Lauren has started to look like her old self.

“We see her just going on and thriving and living like a normal kid,” Suzanne said.

“It is incredible, it really is. It makes the whole experience that much more fun,” said Alex Buetow.

Lauren’s journey to recovery hasn’t been easy and neither will Alex’s 1,100-mile trek to Nome. However, they both said they are cheering for each other.

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