Brooks Connor of Greenville will never forget the call from her pediatrician telling her that she and her newborn son, Charlie, needed to come to the hospital right away. Charlie's newborn screening test, also known as the 'heel-stick test' came back positive. Charlie was soon diagnosed with isovaleric academia. "It's a rare genetic condition that we had never heard of," shared Connor. "Fear and panic set in, but once Charlie was in the capable hands of the Greenwood Genetic Center's treatment team, we could breathe again. GGC saved my son's life, and now he's a happy, healthy, and rambunctious five-year-old." Charlie follows a treatment plan including dietary therapy and remains under the care of GGC's Greenville office.
The Greenwood Genetic Center Foundation, along with a team of volunteers referred to as the "Gene League", is holding its inaugural Race the Helix – Upstate, a 5K race and 1 mile run/walk on Saturday, March 21 at Conestee Park in Greenville. Registration begins at 8am with the race at 9am. All proceeds benefit the GGC Foundation and support the research and treatment services provided by the Center for patients across SC.
Race the Helix is a concept that started on the Center's Greenwood campus four years ago when another family, the Shenals of Greenwood, were looking for a way to express their gratitude for what the Center has meant to them and their daughter, Ryleigh, who was born with a rare chromosome abnormality. In the first four years of the Greenwood event, over $20,000 has been raised for GGC programs, and many more individuals have become aware of the challenges faced by families deal with genetic diagnoses.
"SC is so fortunate to have GGC as a resource, and the compassion they show to their patients is second-to-none," shared Jodi Shenal, Ryleigh's mother. "Race the Helix is one way to help make their vision of providing treatments and cures for families impacted by genetic conditions a reality, and we are thrilled to be expanding it into Greenville."
Entry fees for the race are $25 for the 5K and $15 for the 1 Mile Run/Walk. Participants who register by March 10th are guaranteed a t-shirt.
GGC's mobile science laboratory, the Gene Machine, will be on site for tours. Breakfast will be provided and awards will be presented to the top male and female finishers overall and in each age group.
Race the Helix – Upstate is presented by South Carolina Helix Gold Sponsors, Sykes and the Shire Group; Upstate Helix Silver Sponsors County Bank, Gene Dx, Cartagenia & The Kale Family/"Team Lucy Belle"; and the Upstate Helix Corporate-Ready Sponsor, Greenville Health System.