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Alaska: The Sled Dogs Who Saved a Village with Dr. Shanté Cofield

states Jul 17, 2021

In this episode, Sharon sits down with Dr. Shanté Cofield, a business coach helping movement and health professionals succeed in the online space. The two connect to discuss the story behind the little-known 1925 Serum Run, which took place in the brutal Alaskan wilderness. During a health crisis, town doctor Curtis Welch was faced with diagnosing and treating an unknown illness, all before it infected the whole town of 1,400 people. Left with limited resources and a short deadline, the Alaskan people sprang into action to set up a sled dog relay to deliver the medicine. Sharon takes Shanté through the twists of the story, providing wit and history at every turn.


Link to Full Episode:


This Episode Will Teach You:

  • Transportation methods in Alaska during the 1920s.
  • How massive and cold Alaska really is.
  • History of Doctor Curtis Welch and his training .
  • Diagnosis and treatment of Diptheria.
  • How the town put together a dog sled relay to get the medication.
  • Story of Lenord Seppala and his dogs.
  • The full story behind the 1925 Serum Run.


3 Biggest Takeaways:

  • Alaska is a massive state, and the weather is brutal. In this story, Sharon shares the history of transportation methods across the state during the 1920s - planes weren’t an option because of the open cockpits and extreme cold, boats weren’t an option because of the ice - so possibilities of getting from one place to another were limited to dog sleds. 
  • Curtis Welch was the town’s doctor who lived and worked through the extreme loss of the Spanish flu and was now overseeing the care of the children coming down with these heavy coughs. After researching and researching through his medical books, he diagnoses the children with Diptheria. His medicine shipment that could have been used to treat this illness had not arrived, and without it, he realized this would whip out the whole town. 
  • Dr. Welch frantically sent messages to the Commissioner of Health and hospitals along the west coast asking for units of the anti-toxin that will fight the illness, when a town 900 miles away in the deep interior of Alaska finds supplies. There was no other choice but to use the sled dogs to retrieve the medicine. The people of Nome set up a relay where different teams of mushers and dogs would meet at checkpoints to pick up the medication - making the trek as fast as possible before the medication expires. 


About the Guest:

  • Dr. Shanté Cofield started her career in the physical therapy space and has moved into living her best life by helping others grow and nurture their career. Founder of The Maestro, Shanté, uses her platform to share tangible steps and knowledge with her loyal following. 

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