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KLS Run for Ryan set April 25

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Third annual event features county track meet

By Robert Howey

The pace has been picked up for the area Kleine-Levin Syndrome event to raise funds and awareness for KLS.

In the past two years, Walk for Ryan events were held at the Lancaster High School track.

The 2009 event, known as Run for Ryan, features a county track meet at the LHS track on April 25. The meet draws girls and boys teams from Andrew Jackson, Buford, Indian Land and  Lancaster.

The Run for Ryan is held in memory of Ryan McKinney, a LHS track team member who graduated in 2004. McKinney died Feb. 17, 2006 of cardiac arrhythmia due to missed diagnosis and altered medications in treating KLS, a neurological disorder which is not life threatening, but life altering.

Since Ryan’s death, his mother – Donna White of Lancaster – has waged a personal campaign to raise awareness and funds for KLS through the events.

White’s father, Floyd White is a former LHS assistant principal who coached track, girls basketball and football at LHS and Barr Street High School. White’s brother is Floyd White, Jr., a track star at LHS who later ran track at Furman University.

“The idea for the county track meet was to do something different to draw more people in building a greater awareness for KLS,” Donna White said. “We want to make this an annual event.”

The KLS Walk for Ryan events drew Olympic champion sprinter Shawn Crawford, a former Indian Land star, along with former Lewisville High star  Sheldon Brown and AJ ace Darrell Shropshire.

Brown and Shropshire played football at the University of South Carolina. Brown plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, while Shropshire played with the Atlanta Falcons.

The county track meet – KLS Run for Ryan, is slated to begin at 10 a.m. and continue to 1 p.m.

“An event like this with county wide participation will draw more people and can only enhance our mission of building awareness and raising funds for KLS research,” White said.

White noted two national KLS board members, Cindy Maier, the national KLS founder, and Lori Haller, the KLS national publicity spokesperson, will attend the Run for Ryan. Each has a son stricken with KLS. Maier and Haller will be stationed at a KLS information booth during the event.

In addition, a host of activities are planned in conjunction with the meet.

Barbecue plates, prepared by Dr. Johnny Dukes, will be sold. A raffle for a Palmetto Tree sculptor done by local artist Bob Doster will be held. Sassy Sally’s is donating a gourmet basket to be raffled.

Gigi Scott, Ryan’s sister, will offer reading and storytelling at Ryan’s Corner for youngsters.

Games, including a moon walk, will be featured. Various community organizations, agencies and churches will have booths.

“It will be a full day and a fun day all for a good cause to help raise awareness and funding for KLS,” LHS athletic director Mark Strickland said. “We’re hoping for a good turnout because we feel we have a wide variety of events planned that day.”