More than 300 people from all over the country gathered at Leadbetter Beach on Sunday morning for a five-kilometer run to raise funds for cancer awareness, screening and research.
The Cheryl Diamond Santa Barbara 5K Schlep was sponsored by the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center, which supports the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Israel.
Rabbi Joshua Plaut, executive director of the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center, said most of the proceeds will benefit the medical center, but some will be donated to the Breast Cancer Resource Center in Santa Barbara.
The Breast Cancer Resource Center provides information, personal support through peer-counseling, and referral services for women diagnosed with breast cancer or dealing with benign breast health issues.
“They do amazing work. They’re a walk-in type of support center for women and men that have breast cancer and need counseling and support groups,” said Dr. Plaut.
He added that the Michael Rabin Medical Center is on the cutting edge of genetics screening research for cancer.
“One out of 40 women of Ashkenazi Jewish women have a BRCA gene mutation,” said Dr. Plaut, who explained that the mutation increases the risk of breast, ovarian and other forms of cancer.
“We want women to get screened for the BRCA gene. That information can help them take preventative measures before the cancer develops and metastasizes. There is also screening for men for things like prostate cancer.”
The organization has hosted an annual 5K cancer run on the Hudson River in New York for the last 10 years. Dr. Plaut said the Santa Barbara run will become an annual event as well.
“This is really a local, national and global cause,” he said.
Warren Diamond, of Boca Raton, Florida, said he got involved in the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center after he lost his first wife, Cheryl, to breast cancer in 2001 after a seven-year fight.
“I was married to Cheryl for 28 years,” Mr. Diamond said. “We were high school sweethearts. She taught me how to live, and she taught me how to die as well. It was one of her wishes that I do whatever I could to alleviate the suffering caused by this overwhelming disease.
“I believe, through the BRCA program at the Rabin Medical Center, they’ll eventually find a cure for cancer and many other diseases,” he continued.
“My wife (Cheryl Diamond) was a totally selfless person. She wasn’t worried about what was happening to her as much as she was worried about the future. Especially the research about Ashkenazi women.”
Mr. Diamond also thanked his wife of the last 15 years, Faith, for her support.
Sam Truax, 20, of Carpinteria posted the fastest time in the 5K at 18 minutes 57 seconds.
“My mom works at the Breast Cancer Resource Center, and they received a generous donation. I run recreationally so it sounded like a great plan,” Mr. Truax said.
Erika Wilson, 22, of Santa Barbara was the first woman to finish the run. The Massachusetts native ran a personal best 19 minutes 48 seconds.
“My mom has had breast cancer twice, and I thought it would be a fun thing to do,” she said.
Eleven youth runners from the Santa Barbara Athletic Association were among the schleppers. Keenan Bower, 11, posted a personal best time of 20 minutes, 52 seconds.
To support the AFRMC visit https://afrmc.org/donate.