Chapter 2
“You Just Keep Living Your Life”

Gambling with the Future

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The risks Traci will face by attempting to paddle 8,600 miles through dangerous waters don’t weigh on her alone. The two boys she will leave at home, ages 15 and 11, catch glimpses and hints of the dangers their mother will endure during her world record attempt.
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Family Concerns

Traci’s record attempt fosters both encouragement and wariness at home.

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Packing and Rationing

Traci feels empowered by her decision to pursue her dream, but that drive only gets her so far. She’ll paddle and camp riverside for months on end, occasionally resting in a bed when the opportunity arises. During her 10-month journey, Traci will need to eat to fuel her body, and medicate herself to manage her rheumatoid arthritis. To do this, she is packing and mailing dozens of supply boxes that she will pick up along her route.

As word of Traci’s world record attempt spreads, nearly 50 people have volunteered to receive and deliver her supplies. But the months of collecting and organizing has been Traci’s task to coordinate alone.

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Rooms Full of Boxes

Traci prepares to sustain herself on her voyage, which includes managing prescriptions and a network of pharmacies.

First Exposure

That it’s something extraordinary to be able to treat her rheumatoid arthritis while circumnavigating the Great Lakes is not lost on Traci. Like many living with RA, the condition runs in her family: her first exposure was in childhood, witnessing her grandmother’s battle. Until her own diagnosis, Traci was unaware of advances in treatment. Thus, the news from her doctor left her despondent.
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Family History

Traci’s memory of her grandmother’s debilitating RA left her distraught when she heard her own diagnosis.

RA Journey

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