More than 800 runners took to the streets of Montecito Sunday morning to raise money for cancer research.
Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara and Four Seasons Resort Santa Barbara hosted the 27th annual Cancer Center Walk/Run at Montecito Union School.
Runners started down Santa Rosa Lane, then looped back to the school on San Ysidro Road — with both 5K or 10K courses an option.
When they finished, runners were treated to a brunch buffet provided by the Four Seasons.
Lori Willis, Executive Director of the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara, said they hoped to raise around $200,000 from the event. Donations and sponsorships brought in around $140,000 as of Sunday morning, but Ms. Willis said money will continue to come in after the race.
All of the funds will support the clinical research and patient supportive care programs at Ridley-Tree Cancer Center at Sansum Clinic, said Ms. Willis.
Sylvin Chou said she’s been participating in the run for more than 20 years, running with her husband and two daughters this year.
“It’s a great event, I’ve been doing it for years. I ran one year when I was pregnant, it’s great for the community to come together in support of this cause,” said Ms. Chou.
Dr. Hsien Young of Sansum Clinic added that the event is therapeutic for people who are suffering from cancer or who have a loved one impacted by the disease.
“I think it brings people together to do single-minded things. It makes them feel like they’re making progress, they’re raising money together. It brings people together to have the same cause … when you run, you feel alive and that happiness is powerful,” Dr. Young said.
He participated in the run to honor his late mother-in-law, Mimi Shyr, who died of breast cancer.
The event’s top fundraiser, Lori Harris, said she’s been involved with the run for more than 20 years — and 11 since the death of her sister, Julie Main, from breast cancer.
“She used to work for the (Santa Barbara Athletic Club) so if you worked with her you were involved it was something, we all wanted to be a part of,” said Ms. Harris.
“I think that cancer affects all of our lives in this community and in every community. The Cancer Center is such a wonderful place if you have cancer and you have to go somewhere. This event is all about the community and the people around us who keep us inspired.”
To honor Ms. Main’s memory, the Cancer Foundation created the Julie Main Award for a cancer survivor who exemplifies courage, perseverance and hope.
This year, cancer survivor and Cancer Center volunteer Patricia Mojarro, 72, received the award.
She has been volunteering at the center for the past five years.
“When people come into the center, sometimes we (volunteers) are the first ones they see. You don’t know what’s going to happen to you. It’s scary. Helping someone else to get through what I went through is really rewarding,” she said.