HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – – – HudsonAlpha held its 12th annual Double Helix Dash 5K and one-mile twilight run Tuesday evening, with hundreds participating. Their goal is to help raise funds and awareness for their childhood genetic disorder research.

Every year, two out of every 100 children are born with an intellectual or physical disability or delay – and thousands of families in Alabama are affected by such struggles.

HudsonAlpha uses genome sequencing technology to identify the cause of developmental disorders in children.

“When we find a diagnosis, sometimes we can change the way somebody is treated or managed. Sometimes it can help them access services that they didn’t have access to before. Sometimes it can help inform families about risks to other family members, and sometimes it’s about having an answer,” said HudsonAlpha Clinical Education Director Meagan Cochran. 

Through the institution, families like the Bradshaw’s got the help they were looking for.

“A couple of our children had some genetic issues. HudsonAlpha, a couple of years ago, did some genetic testing on our children to figure out what was going on. About a year or two ago, HudsonAlpha figured out that two of my children have a specific genetic flaw/defect that leads to Dravet syndrome which leads to seizures and things like that,” said Madison County resident Byron Bradshaw.

“They have provided so many answers for our family and have alleviated a lot of anxiety and concerns we had because we now know what we’re dealing with,” added Madison County resident Laurel Bradshaw.

“When they first did the testing on our family, they didn’t find any answers. That was kind of discouraging to us because we knew it was genetic. They kept looking back at our case…kept reviewing it…and they finally found the genetic mutation. That has given us answers to our girls’ developmentally and answers that we can get for them and advocate for them,” said Laurel Bradshaw. 

Event organizers say over 500 people signed up to participate in this year’s run.

If you’re interested in the program, Byron and Laurel Bradshaw are encouraging you to go for it.

“Seek out answers for their issues so they can have customized medicine and really have an understanding of what their children are dealing with. I would really encourage parents to go through the process and to trust HudsonAlpha. They were great for us. It took them a couple of years to kind of figure it out, and it was just a really good experience for us,” replied Byron Bradshaw. 

With every step, run, jog, or walk, HudsonAlpha hopes they can continue to raise awareness and funds through events like this to support families like the Bradshaw’s.

“Genomic research is not cheap. Here at HudsonAlpha, we’re incredibly lucky to have federally funded research…independent and corporate funding…but every dollar we make goes to help make this research go further,” added Cochran.