Pat Moon has encouraged many people with his story. After riding as an Iditarider in 2006, he decided he would like to race in the Iditarod someday. This goal proved more difficult for Pat, since he had ulcerative colitis, and then was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of cancer. Still he pressed on, and this year he stood on Fourth Avenue in Anchorage, this time as a musher. Unfortunately, he had to scratch after running into a tree in the infamous Dalzell Gorge.
I always feel a sense of loss when a musher has to scratch, but I was especially sad when I heard about Pat's scratch. So I wrote a poem in his honor:
by Marcia Claesson
Dedicated to Pat Moon
A dream took flight on a chilly day
For a young man crouched in a sled
That he would return as a musher one day
With a lead dog at the head.
The dream soared high in the next few years,
But the challenges did too.
Still the man pushed on through his doubts and fears
Till he stood on Fourth Avenue.
The dream that he kept through sickness and pain
Ended far too soon
In a tree-lined gorge with a rough terrain
‘Neath the cold Alaska moon.
But the dream lives on in the young man’s heart
Even with a different tune.
Though he may not stand ‘neath the burled arch,
He’s one tough Chicago Moon.