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From Anchorage to Nome, we find inspiration in a near century-old vaccines tradition

In March, our vaccines regional sales manager, Dan Lien, and colleagues, Beth Helgeson and Eric Egeland, take part in the start of the Iditarod Sled Dog race (The Mercy Run) that begins in Anchorage and ends in Nome.

For more than 1000 miles, Beth, Dan and Eric join thousands of fans from across Alaska and the Lower 48 to cheer on mushers and dog teams on a journey that lasts 9 to 15 days and recreates the 1925 diphtheria serum run that saved the village of Nome from a devastating outbreak. To this day, mushers still carry vials of vaccine during the entire route and are required to have them in their sleds at the finish line.

“We celebrate this race as fans not only because of our background at GSK – we take part because we are proud Alaskans who want to help commemorate the role vaccination played in the history of our community.”

For those who may be hearing the word “musher” for the first time – there’s a popular Disney character named Balto (also a prominent Anchorage statue) who might help explain its meaning.

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Our employees in Anchorage have over 115 years of experience with GSK – twice as many years as Alaska has been a state!