What would you do for your sibling? Jason Mackey is willing to slow his Iditarod race down and help his brother, Lance. Lance Mackey, four time Iditarod champion, is one tough man. He hasn’t been dealt the best hand of cards, but he has fought through what he has been given. Lance is a survivor of cancer, but the effects are lingering. Due to chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he now has a disease that causes poor circulation in his hands. Very little blood flow plus extremely cold temperatures does not fare well for anyone.
Dog mushers have many chores that require them to take their gloves off and expose their fingers to the bitter temperatures. At one point early on in the trail Lance left his unprotected hands out in the chilled air a little too long. Ever since then he cannot feel his fingers. He is having an extremely hard time doing simple chores such as, bootying his dogs. His brother, Jason, arrived in Tanana with Lance still at the checkpoint. Concerned with his brother’s condition, they spoke about his options. With no doubt in his mind, Lance is finishing this race. Jason, with his number one priority showing through, chose family over his own success. Jason told Lance he was going to stay with him in Tanana for their 24-hour break and continue on with him to provide help and support. Mushers cannot accept any outside assistance, however, mushers may help other mushers.
While at the checkpoint Lance gave an interview with the Iditarod Insider crew. Noticeably choked up, Lance barely got out of his mouth, “this is it for me.” This will be Lance’s last Iditarod race. A champion that has had one tough life, is determined to finish the race and sport he loves. His brother, knowing how much this means to Lance, is sacrificing so his brother can finish one last time.
Moving ahead to Huslia, the brothers are still together. The tides will now turn. Lance is telling Jason to go ahead without him. Lance wants Jason to get out there and do what he can. I watched Jason prepare to leave with Lance watching and encouraging him on. Lance cheered on the dogs and Jason as they headed out the village. He led them and watched them the entire way out. A proud brother.
These two brothers have shown fans of the Iditarod that this is more than just a race. I have seen so many different types of relationships out here on the trail. Lance and Jason are both willing to do anything for each other. They both want the other to succeed. Each of them know how important this is to the other. Jason early on willing to sacrifice his success to help his brother in time of need. Lance willing to sacrifice help to push his brother ahead. They are both true inspirations.
What would you sacrifice for a family member?