The Greenwood Genetic Center saw a record number of participants turn out Saturday for its Race the Helix fundraiser, with proceeds going to support research and promote understanding.

Now in its ninth year, the event drew nearly 400 runners and walkers to the center’s Greenwood campus.

“Each year, it keeps getting bigger and better. We had a record number of participants and sponsors, and we were so happy to see the fall-like weather arrive just in time for the race,” said Lori Bassett, communications director for the center. “GGC is so grateful for the support of our community and all of the wonderful volunteers who make this event happen each year.”

Geoff Rhyne, whose daughter Ella was diagnosed Feb. 26 with a rare condition known as Kleefstra syndrome. Greenwood Genetic Center clinicians made the discovery, and contacted his family with the news.

“We are incredibly thankful for the team at GGC. We honestly feel that we have been given this opportunity, and the fact that the GGC is in our community only strengthens that belief,” Rhyne said. “The GGC has become family and an integral part of ‘Team Ella.’ They have and continue to provide ongoing support and care for our daughter and family.”

Kleefstra syndrome is a rare genetic disorder characterized by intellectual disability, relaxed muscle tone and speech delays.

Now nearly 2 years old, Ella has been outfitted with special shoes and braces to assist in her walking. She’s also protected by her two older brothers Jackson, 5, and 3-year-old Griffin.

Greenwood Genetic Center founder Roger Stevenson, who still maintains and practice, and physician assistant Wesley Patterson worked closely with Ella through her diagnosis and continued treatment regime.

Geoff Rhyne said they’re part of a broader team that has embraced the toddler and as she’s grown into a cheerful little girl.

“We felt incredibly fortunate and supportive to have such incredible individuals as a part of Ella’s team. Dr. Stevenson is brilliant and compassionate and we are honored to have him working with Ella. We had a million questions as we first began navigating our new normal, and Wesley answered them every single time,” Rhyne said.