by Amanda from Kansas
|statue dedicated to Balto (http://www.heritagepreservation.org/images/299-0020.jpg)|
In 1925 hundreds of children in Nome were dying from diphtheria a disease that is lethal to children. At the time there was only one way to import the life saving antidote, dog sled. Balto was the lead dog in the last stretch of the race, when the unexpected blizzard hit.this was also was also the longest part of the race. He faced the distorted terrain of Alaska with a vicious storm in its full rage, to end the rein of diphtheria that consumed the children of Alaska.
Raged and worn trails twist around numb trees over black frozen ground. The climate and terrain of Alaska winters makes towns in the middle of this ice cube almost unreachable. Alaska mostly consists of steep mountainous mazes that are blocked by thick boreal forests. The only places that these forests don’t cover the land are over frozen lakes or at the peak of a mountain. Most of the time temperatures drop below -10 degrees Fahrenheit. In the Iditarod many dogs died due to these conditions.
In snowstorms it is impossible to see and with frozen noses, a dog's sense of smell is decreased. The temperatures in snowstorms are around -30 not including the effects of wind chill. The force of wind alone can ether fight against you in the opposite direction, or push you forward into a stumble. Some of the dogs in the serum run died due to snowstorm conditions. It's amazing that in a flurry of white, these dogs didn't lose the trail.
diphtheria is a very serious disease that is lethal to children. Most states now require vaccinations. but at the point of the serum run there was no such vaccination, and the people of Nome had to depend on towns many miles away for almost everything. Diphtheria usually showed symptoms such as:
• Bluish coloration of the skin
• Bloody, watery drainage from nose
• Breathing problems
• Difficulty breathing
• Rapid breathing
• Croup-like (barking) cough
• Drooling (suggests airway blockage is about to occur)
• Painful swallowing
• Skin lesions (usually seen in tropical areas)
• Sore throat (may range from mild to severe)
There may be no symptoms at all.
Balto ran the serum run as a lead dog in Alaska's frozen land, and fought a snow storm in the longest stretch of the race. He ran against diphtheria. He saved hundreds of children in the race. In the end Balto won the race against me and death.