Doctor Favia Dubyk doesn't let cancer, the Alaskan wilderness slow her down

Mar. 30—Favia Dubyk is one to stay busy.

She is a doctor and that keeps her busy.

The outdoors is a place for enjoyment and challenges.

Though she couldn't have trained enough for what awaited her on the set of the reality competition series, "Race To Survive Alaska."

The series premieres at 9 p.m. Monday, April 3, on USA Network.

Over the course of six weeks and six races, the eight teams of two traverse through the harshest Alaskan landscapes, having to source their own food and water while charting their own path on previously unexplored terrain. The duos must survive off the unwelcoming land as they battle every element while being relentlessly pursued by their competition. In each leg of the race, the last team to reach the finish line will be eliminated from the competition. Tested like never before, participants will endure physical pain while forging alliances and backstabbing their way to claim a spot in the finale and the chance to win the $500,000 if they can survive the hostile land and each other.

Dubyk, who is based in Albuquerque, teamed up with best friend Genevieve Walker, who lives in Kingston, New York, for the series.

The pair met at a rock-climbing festival and bonded over their shared mission to help establish a space for Black female climbers.

Dubyk is an incredible athlete, who held the 100-meter dash record for seven years at Harvard University and is a cancer survivor. She also became both a professional rock climber and practicing physician.

Walker is a certified rock-climbing instructor and guide, as well as a wilderness first responder.

"NBC reached out to me and the first person I thought about was Genevieve," Dubyk says. "I knew that we could do this together and challenge ourselves. Nothing in New Mexico could have prepared me for this."

Walker says when Dubyk contacted her, she knew it was a go.

"I thought it sounded really cool," Walker says. "It was going to be an experience on its own."

As the competition took place, Walker says she learned that she has a lot of fight inside of her.

"The show only shows a small snippet of what happened," Walker says. "The hardest thing was not eating and still being able to push through to make it through the day."

Dubyk says the mental aspect wasn't too difficult.

"I've been through cancer and residency," Dubyk says. "The physical part of it was tough because my body has changed due to the cancer. I also have a spinal cord injury. I have the best partner and when I couldn't finish something, she would lift me up. When I was physically down, she was able to push me through all of the physical pain."

The pair also wanted to represent Black women which is why they both said yes to the series.

"I hope that we can show the world that Black women just don't survive outside, but we thrive," Dubyk says.

Walker says being the point of representation is a special place to be.

"People of color, especially women are strong," Walker says. "Our strength is showing through. We were strong and worked well as a team and kept our heads up and found positivity."

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.


Albuquerque resident Favia Dubyk competes on "Race To Survive Alaska" at 9 p.m. Monday, April 3, on USA Network.