A record number 600-plus runners gathered at HudsonAlpha April 5 for the fifth annual Double Helix Dash 5K and one mile fun run. The event supports rare childhood genetic disorders research at HudsonAlpha.

For the first year, the race featured a childhood champion. Thirteen-year old Lakely Stapler’s rare genetic disorder was diagnosed by HudsonAlpha

Lakely Stapler, this year's Childhood Champion
Lakely Stapler, this year’s Childhood Champion

researchers. Her mother Teresa Smith spoke eloquently and gratefully about the work done at the Institute.

“Thanks to HudsonAlpha, we now know Lakely has Pitt-Hopkins Syndrome,” said Teresa Smith. “It’s such a relief. Words can’t express how thankful I am to have a name for this disorder.” 

Runners were also treated to two dance performances by Merrimack Hall, a nonprofit organization that provides visual and performing arts education and cultural activities to children and adults with special needs.

groups shout double helix“It was a great day. I’m thrilled and grateful that so many runners came out to support HudsonAlpha’s childhood genetic disorders research,” said Karen Petersen, Double Helix Dash coordinator. “Everyone at HudsonAlpha is very passionate about finding answers for families struggling with rare and undiagnosed diseases. It’s great to have the community on board, as well. A huge thanks to everyone who came out to  support our efforts.”

Twenty-one sponsors supported this year’s race. Local news anchor Demetria McClenton from WAAY-TV served as the emcee.  2016 Double Helix Dash (251 of 2328)-L

Alex Clark with the Huntsville Track Club directed the race. The Double Helix Dash presenting sponsor was Redstone Federal Credit Union. Major sponsors were Microarrays, McDonald’s, Grounds Control, The Orthopaedic Center (TOC), CFD Research Corporation, PeopleTec, Troy7, KTI Express Courier, AEgis Technologies, Huntsville Pediatric Associates, Occupational Health Group and Pretium. Event sponsors were Geek Out Huntsville, MVW Nutritionals, Alabama Pediatric Dental and 4Site. Our media sponsor was WAAY-TV. In-kind supporters were McDonald’s, Fleet Feet, Domino’s Pizza and Crystal Mountain. The Huntsville Track Club helped coordinate the race.

A big thank you to all of our runners, walkers, volunteers and sponsors who supported the race and childhood genetic disorder research! Click here to view race photos by Gregg Gelmis from We Run Race Photos LLC. WAAY TV’s race coverage is also available on their website

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