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.
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 email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.