The 16th annual Mitchell’s Run Thru Rockford, a five-kilometer (3.1-mile) run/walk and kids' fun run, is Saturday in downtown Rockford.

Proceeds from the benefit go to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, a non-profit dedicated to expediting viable treatments and a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a fatal genetic disorder that slowly robs those stricken with the disease of their muscle strength.

Mitchell Peterson and Mitchell's Run Thru Rockford

Mitchell Peterson is an 18-year-old Rockford High School graduate diagnosed 15 years ago with degenerative Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. (Photo: Mitchell's Run Thru Rockford)

Mitchell Peterson, 18, of Rockford, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) just before his third birthday.

The son of Steve and Sandy Peterson, Mitchell graduated from Rockford High School and this fall is planning to attend Calvin College in Grand Rapids.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is the most lethal form of Muscular Dystrophy, genetic diseases that weaken the musculoskeletal system and hamper locomotion and movement.

With Muscular Dystrophy, the muscle fibers become unusually susceptible to damage and the damaged muscles become progressively weaker. Most people who have Muscular Dystrophy eventually need to use a wheelchair.

Over the past 15 years, Mitchell's Run Thru Rockford has had more than 10,000 participants and 1,000 volunteers, raising more than $825,000.

Wednesday morning, I talked with Mitchell and his dad, Steve.

Mitchell Peterson and Steve Peterson Talk with 100.5 The River's Andy Rent

Team Mitchell

By taking part in Mitchell's Run Thru Rockford with Team Mitchell, participants become eligible to win the $300 package from Saucony and Merrell.

One entry is submitted for each $100 raised, with a drawing at 6 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Mitchell's Run Thru Rockford registration tent at Rockford Footwear Depot.

In addition, anyone raising at least $30 in pledges receives one of these goodies from Wolverine World Wide:

To join Team Mitchell, register for Mitchell's Run Thru Rockford online or at Rockford Footwear Depot, 235 N. Main St. in Rockford.