Source: Arabic.Net – Taha Abdel Nasser Ramadan
During January 1925, the American media reported the tragedy of Alaska, where everyone was surprised to hear about the spread of diphtheria, also known as diphtheria, in the city of Nome whose population is estimated at less than two thousand and is located in the far west of Alaska. During the past few years, this region has suffered from the horrors of the Spanish influenza pandemic, which struck sleep between 1918 and 1919 and caused 50 percent of its indigenous population, in addition to about 8 percent of the indigenous population of Alaska.
In the face of diphtheria, the media and local officials initially talked about the death of dozens of children within a short period, and stressed the possibility of the death of all residents of Nom and the adjacent areas in the event that the medication doses did not arrive in time.
In the face of the high number of deaths, Mr. Curtis Welch, a sleep physician, ordered the people to stay home and put the city in quarantine, hoping to alleviate the spread of diphtheria, stressing that the region’s survival is linked to obtaining a shipment of the vaccine against the disease.
In addition, the nearest store that contained the anti-serum was located in the Anchorage area, which was about 1500 km from the city of Num. Officials have been unable to transport medicine to the affected city due to the freezing of water near its port and the inability of the aircraft of that period to fly in such very cold areas, especially with possession of naked cockpits, making pilots vulnerable to death by freezing weather.
In the face of this difficult situation, US officials came up with an innovative idea to save sleeping folks through which they resorted to the use of sled dogs that were used by dogs that were usually used in this area to transport mail. The plan then required that the anti-diphtheria vaccine be transported by train to the nearest point reached by the railway to the city of sleep and to assign a number of skis drivers, who are in the villages along the road between the cities of Nom and Nenana, to deliver the medicine within a humanitarian mission without charge called the Mercy Racing because everyone raced with time To save as many sleepers as possible and prevent an outbreak.
During this mission, the train undertook to transport a 20-pound cargo load from the opposite serum towards Nenana station, which is about a thousand kilometers from sleep, and the authorities divided the trip line into sleep between several skis drivers, each of whom guaranteed to transport the cargo for a certain distance. And hand it over to another colleague who waited for him at the next meeting point.
During the night of January 27, 1925, Bill Shannon received the serum’s load and proceeded straight into his sled towards the next point, which was located more than 80 km away. During the Mercy Race, skis leaders and their dogs were forced to endure extreme conditions as the temperature during that period of the year was estimated to be minus 50 degrees Celsius as the snow and rugged terrain covered the entire path towards sleep. To get the medicine on time, the owners and their dogs moved during the day and at night without getting enough rest.
During the Mercy Race, some names emerged, such as the leader Leonhard Seppala and his dog Togo, the leader of the dog group, who traveled the longest distance estimated at about 146 km, and the name of the commander Gunnar Kaasen and his Balto dog who transported the cargo appeared to the world. Toward its final destination in Nom, to receive the reception of heroes.
According to a number of sources, 20 sled drivers and about 150 dogs participated, 6 of whom died, with this task called the Mercy Racing, which managed to transport the anti-sleeping serum within five and a half days.
Later, the United States of America saluted the sacrifice of the sled drivers and their dogs. The Palo dog gained international fame, turning into a Hollywood star and constructing a statue in his honor in Central Park, New York.