Sarasota teen competes in Junior Iditarod

ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 6:58 AM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A local teen is making a difference by bringing awareness to juvenile diabetes while doing what she loves.

Normally Lacy Kuehl would feed her need for speed by driving a race car. But this time the girl who’s never seen snow competed in the Junior Iditarod in Alaska.

Since January, Kuehl has been accompanied by her father training for the grueling 150-mile race in the freezing cold.

Kuehl said the reason she started racing in the first place was to honor her 1-year-old brother who passed away from diabetes. Kuehl races her car all over the U.S. and decided it was time to take her platform to the next level by training to do the Junior Iditarod.

She said the preparation was a lot more than learning dog commands.

“I definitely had to learn a lot of things. I had to learn how to dress in the cold, I was learning how to camp, learning how to use a cooker, how to feed the dogs, how to take care of the dogs, it was a very cool experience,” she said.

When competing in such a grueling race, things don’t always go as planned. About 75 miles into the race, Kuehl began to feel alarmingly ill.

With a simple command to her two dog leaders, the pack shifted course to get her help.

“I’ve been told I passed out—and [the dogs] brought me into Yentna, and that’s where I woke up,” she said.

As a result, she explained the dogs received one of the most prestigious awards given in the Iditarod.

“My dogs Schooby and Bandsaw, both of them were awarded the Blue Harness Award for being the best leaders of the race. Basically, for saving my life.”

Aside from the racing, they’ve been able to spread their message to thousands of people about diabetes awareness. The Kuehl family said with some of the symptoms being similar to the flu it’s always a good idea to get tested just in case.

You can follow Lacy’s race journey and find all information regarding the signs and symptoms of diabetes at Drive For Diabetes Awareness.