The Greenwood Genetic Center’s (GGC’s) annual Race the Helix 5K and 1-mile run/walk is celebrating its 10th year of raising awareness for families impacted by genetic disorders and providing funds to support the programs and research of the Greenwood Genetic Center.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event will be virtual.

Runners and walkers can register at www.runsignup.com and complete their 5K run or 1-mile walk anywhere they choose between Sept. 26 and Oct. 3.

Participants are invited to post their participation on social media and share their race times and photos with event coordinators.

“Race the Helix has become something that we look forward to hosting on our campus each fall, and it is disappointing not be able to celebrate this milestone year in person with all of our friends and supporters,” said Bill Tiller, Executive Director of the GGC Foundation. “But on the bright side, a virtual race means that we can share GGC’s message of hope with participants far beyond our usual reach for an in-person event.”

Race the Helix started in 2011 when Stephen and Jodi Shenal of Greenwood reached out to the Center with the idea as a way to show their appreciation for the care their family received after the birth of their daughter, Ryleigh, who has a rare chromosome deletion.

“When Ryleigh was first diagnosed, her geneticist, Dr. Steve Skinner told us — Remember, Ryleigh is still the same beautiful baby she was before this diagnosis,” said Jodi. “Those word comforted me then, and over these past ten years, GGC’s compassionate care has provided our family with hope and encouragement beyond measure.”

Along with Ryleigh, who will celebrate her 10th birthday in November, Race the Helix has grown each year — both in the number of participants, as well as in funds raised for the GGC Foundation.

Last year the Greenwood event brought in over $30,000 to support GGC initiatives that benefit families worldwide.

“GGC’s caring employees have truly become an extension of our family,” said Stephen. “We’re thrilled that this little idea that Jodi and I had 10 years ago has taken off in such a big way. We can’t wait to see the reach of the virtual event across the country and even around the world.”

All proceeds benefit the GGC Foundation which supports GGC’s research and educational programs and helps defray the cost of genetic testing for uninsured or underinsured patients.

Registration for Race the Helix can be found at www.GGC.org or www.RunSignUp.com. There is a $25 fee for the 5K race. The 1-mile run/walk is free thanks to event sponsors.

Submitted by Lori Bassett