Friday, November 24 , 2017, 9:09 am | Fair 57º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Walkers Hit Their Stride in Benefits for American Heart Association, Girls Inc.

Teams and individuals walk in the 5K and 10K She.Is.Beautiful event Saturday to benefit Girls Inc. of the Greater Santa Barbara Area. Click to view larger
Teams and individuals walk in the 5K and 10K She.Is.Beautiful event Saturday to benefit Girls Inc. of the Greater Santa Barbara Area. (Julia Lee / Noozhawk photo)

Hundreds of people turned out for fundraising walks Saturday to benefit the American Heart Association and Girls Inc. of the Greater Santa Barbara Area.

The 26th annual 5K Heart Walk had more than 500 walkers, according to organizers.

The goal was to raise $245,000 for American Heart Association outreach and research. The event raised about $225,000 last year, organizers said.

“There is a high number of people with heart disease, which is the No. 1 killer, right here on the Central Coast,” said Donna Romani, spokeswoman for the local division of the Heart Association.

“I’ve already heard stories from survivors that are so touching and so emotional.”

The sixth annual She.Is.Beautiful 5K and 10K walks to benefit Girls Inc. also started Saturday morning, with walkers beginning their route at Chase Palm Park on the Santa Barbara waterfront.

She.Is.Beautiful’s mission is to promote women and girls’ strength, empowerment and confidence.

About 500 people joined the American Heart Association’s 26th annual 5K on Saturday in Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
About 500 people joined the American Heart Association’s 26th annual 5K on Saturday in Santa Barbara. (Julia Lee / Noozhawk photo)

Fundraising from the event went to Girls Inc., which offers educational and enrichment programs to girls from 4½ to 18 years old.

“Why I participate in She.Is.Beautiful, it just gives me and the women in my life a chance to come together and just feel good about, not only our bodies, but feel good about being able to empower each other,” said Melissa Lima, one of the walkers.

“We’re out here, we’re moving, to celebrate the bodies we’ve been given and to celebrate each other. It’s in solidarity and empowerment of women.”

Noozhawk intern Julia Lee can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

The American Heart Association’s 26th annual 5K got started early Saturday at Santa Barbara’s Chase Palm Park. Click to view larger
The American Heart Association’s 26th annual 5K got started early Saturday at Santa Barbara’s Chase Palm Park. (Julia Lee / Noozhawk photo)
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