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St. John third-graders meet Ballard woman who participated in Iditarod’s ceremonial start

Ballard resident Diane Bedell came to St. John School in Greenwood on Wednesday to share her story of being a tag sled driver at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod race in Wasilla, Alaska. She spoke to the school’s third-graders, who followed the mushers throughout the Iditarod via the internet.


Diane Bedell talks to St. John third-graders about her experience at the Iditarod. Photo courtesy of St. John School.

On March 5, Bedell rode the sled behind Edmonds musher Jan Steves, who competed in her fifth Iditarod.


Steves offered Bedell the spot as a way to highlight organ donation. Bedell received a donor heart in 2013 after a series of heart attacks as her own heart failed.

Bedell, who owns malamutes and has been a dog sledder herself for 20 years (although not competing), is now back at work at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in downtown Seattle as well at the Outdoor Recreation Information Center at REI.