Double Helix Dash 5K and fun run returns April 7

Proceeds to support childhood genetic disorders research

(From left to right): Matt Monson, Josiah Monson, Violet Monson, Mandy Monson

Lace-up your sneakers and join the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology at the Double Helix Dash to raise funds and awareness for childhood genetic disorder research at the Institute.

HudsonAlpha will host the ninth annual Double Helix Dash 5K and one-mile fun run the afternoon of Tuesday, April 7 at McMillian Park on HudsonAlpha’s campus. The race winds through the double helix path which was built to mimic the structure of DNA.

Proceeds support childhood genetic disorders research at HudsonAlpha. This year’s childhood champion is Violet Monson of Montgomery, Ala. Violet was diagnosed with Rett syndrome through the Clinical Sequencing and Exploratory Research (CSER) project at HudsonAlpha. Rett syndrome is a neurodegenerative disorder that is almost exclusively seen in girls and affects about 1 in 10,000 worldwide.

“It was a lot to take in, but we gave ourselves one day to cry, scream, and stomp our feet if we need to, but tomorrow, we get up and fight because Rett has messed with the wrong family,” said Mandy, Violet’s mother. “Just having a name meant so much to us,” said Mandy. “I still think she would be undiagnosed if it wasn’t for HudsonAlpha.”

“There’s power in that,” said Matt, Violet’s father. “Now we’re connected with not only local families but those from around the world who have a child with Rett syndrome. It’s nice to know we’re not alone.”

Read Violet’s story here.

“When we make a clinical diagnosis, it can sometimes lead to tremendous benefits for the family,” said Greg Cooper, PhD, faculty investigator at HudsonAlpha who led the CSER project. “Having that knowledge about what’s happening allows them to have a better sense of what to expect in the future, a chance to connect to other families going through a similar experience, and possibly the ability to get better treatment options.”

Two out of 100 children are born with intellectual or developmental delays, many of which arise from genetic factors. HudsonAlpha is on the leading edge with this project. 

Presented in collaboration with the Huntsville Track Club, the Double Helix Dash begins at 5:30 p.m. and will start and finish on Genome Way. Immediately following will be the one-mile fun run.

Prior to the start of the race, runners and spectators will be treated to a dance performance by Merrimack Hall, a nonprofit organization that provides visual and performing arts education and cultural activities to children and adults with special needs.

The Dash is open to everyone from serious runners to those who just want to cheer and watch the race on Explorer Boulevard. Please show your support for HudsonAlpha’s childhood genetics disorders programs. 

To learn more and register, visit See you on the helix!