The Iditarod is a sled-dog race taking place over 1,000 miles from Anchorage to Nome, AK. While many people are aware of the impressive bravery of the men, women, and dogs who continue to take part in this event, few know the real reason why it began. As a trusted urgent care center, Patients First Medical Clinic strives to provide quality treatments to local patients — especially those tackling this journey. They believe in informing the public on the rich history of the Iditarod and its noble origins.
An Anchorage Urgent Care Clinic on the Iditarod
More Than Just a Race
Diphtheria is a bacterial disease that inflames membranes in the throat to the point where breathing is compromised. While vaccines have wiped out most occurrences of this highly contagious illness, in 1925 that wasn’t the case. In fact, an outbreak threatened the lives of over 10,000 people, and access to the proper medication — an antitoxin that decreased deadly symptoms of diphtheria — was nearly impossible since it was miles away in Anchorage.
Sled Dogs to the Rescue
There was a possible solution to this problem, however. At the time, mail carriers used sled dogs to make their deliveries, and these dogs and their drivers were accustomed to making impossibly long trips in frigid conditions. They could also make these trips quickly, and this was key in the plan. Then-governor of Alaska Scott Bone agreed to allow 20 sled drivers and dogs to make the 674-mile journey from Anchorage to Nome with the vaccine in tow. The next hurdle was seeing if the trip could be made quickly — as it typically took up to 20 days.
An Unbelievable Effort
Undeterred by the challenge, Alaska’s toughest sled drivers picked up the medical supplies and made their way back to Nome. What happened next was truly unbelievable. Instead of making the journey in the standard 20 days, these drivers made it in a mere five days and seven hours. Their efforts made a huge impact, and numerous lives were saved. The Iditarod lives on to honor these brave men, and racers today carry a symbolic vaccine to remember why the race started.
The same sense of dedication and pride that Iditarod racers and medical staff showed in 1925 lives on at Patients First Medical Clinic. From women’s health to pediatric care, these medical professionals believe that everyone deserves access to quality treatment no matter what. Learn more about accessing urgent care services by calling (907) 333-7425 today. You can also visit the website for helpful patient resources.