Approximately 320 runners took to the streets of Isla Vista and UCSB on Saturday for the 6th annual Kappa Dash in an effort to raise money to benefit breast and ovarian cancer research.
Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters teamed up with members of the UCSB community to participate in the 5K-run, which began at the KKG sorority house located at 6525 Picasso Road. A pre-run ceremony was held in Greek Park at 10 a.m., featuring a speech from Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum, who has been involved in the event in previous years.
For the past five years, KKG members have used the money earned from the annual fundraiser for the advancement of breast cancer research. This year, however, the run’s charitable focus has been broadened by the recent loss of KKG sister and UCSB student Robin Babbini to ovarian cancer. Babbini, a 20-year-old English major who received the cancer diagnosis during her senior year of high school, passed away this summer after a long battle with the disease.
According to members of the sorority, the run has taken on special significance in light of their friend’s death, and ovarian cancer is now a front-running issue in the event.
“We’re happy to do it, and it’s for such a great cause,” said Ellie Stone, a fourth-year psychology major and KKG philanthropy chair. “And due to recent events, [the Dash is] all the more important.”
The Dash, which raised $13,000 last year, had garnered about $12,000 as of Sunday, according to Stone. She said the money raised will be donated to several local and national charities, including Susan G. Komen foundation, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the Santa Barbara Early Detection Agency and the Ovarian Cancer Coalition.
The run – which wrapped around the lagoon, reached the beach near Campus Point and ended up back at the Kappa house – was followed by a KKG-hosted gala in Greek Park with food, performances by DJ Davis and Rebelution and a raffle with prizes donated from local I.V. businesses.
“We had a great turnout with about 320 runners, more than ever before,” KKG member Melissa Mayers said. “This day really made me proud to be a Kappa and to see such a positive outcome.”
Mayers said though Babbini did not want to publicize her fight with ovarian cancer, she inspired many to participate in the event, contributing to the run’s substantial turnout and optimistic atmosphere.
“I know Robin would have been proud to see how this event turned out,” Mayers, a third-year global studies major, said. “It’s always been cloudy [in previous years] during Kappa Dash, and I guess Robin was just tired of it. She brought sunshine to our event today.”