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Superhero 5K for Jillian’s Cure Returns for Second Year

This Saturday, we may find out who would win in a race between Superman and the Flash, as well as Supergirl, Spider-Man, and many more.

People from all over the Midlands and beyond will don their best capes, cowls, and tiaras for the second annual Superhero 5K for Jillian’s Cure, dressing as heroes to support a local mother and daughter who are heroes, in hopes of bringing them a rescue worthy of a thunder god, Amazon princess, or dark knight.

Carolyn Nava’s daughter, Jillian, was diagnosed with autosomal dominant optic atrophy (ADOA) at just two months old. The disease is currently incurable, and if a cure is not found, it will cause Jillian to go blind and deaf. Jillian is 5 now, and most ADOA patients lose their hearing at around that age and their vision as teenagers.

Nava has been a superhero since the diagnosis came. “My whole life made a big pivotal change at that point,” she said. “I really felt God calling me to find a cure, to be the person to stand up for her disease and help change the lives of generations to come.”

That quest has shaped Carolyn’s life since then. She works tirelessly to raise money to support research for a cure, with help from friends and family, from local businesses, and especially from Jillian’s older brother, Christopher.

Christopher, 15, has learned sign language and braille alongside his mom and little sister, as well as helping raise money every chance he gets. Jillian and Christopher will not give up hope no matter what. That’s how superheroes work.

Numerous local businesses have stepped forward to help, and many are sponsoring Saturday’s 5K, which starts at 8 a.m. at Saluda Shoals Park at 5605 Bush River Road in Columbia. There will be food and music and family fun, and participants are welcome to walk instead of running if they choose. Not all heroes have super-speed, after all. A virtual run is also available for those who can’t be there in person.

Details on registration and more on the race are available here.

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