The WVU’s Shell Building filled with applause Friday evening as survivors and current cancer fighters took a “Survivor Lap” around the track, opening the 12th annual Relay for Life.
According to Shannon Fitzpatrick, the co-director of WVU’s Relay for Life, the event raised around $26,000 for the American Cancer Society. More than 500 participants on 46 teams registered to participate.
For the event, each team set up a holiday-themed campsite to continue fundraising throughout the night by selling food, goods, games and activities.
This year’s theme was “Holidays.” Teams decorated their tents to represent the Fourth of July, Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo, Donut Day and more.
The top teams to raise the most money included the Relay for Life Committee with $4,123 raised, the Pi Beta Phi sorority with $2,190, the Physical Therapy program with $1,851 and music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota with $1,720.
Ashley Harold, a member of the Pi Beta Phi team, raised the most funds for the event with a total of $1,725.
Each year, the title of Mr. Relay is awarded to one participant at the event. This year, it was awarded to Oche Oche-Obe, a member of the Phi Sigma Pi team. Within five minutes, Oche-Obe raised $108 during the contest. Together, the Mr. Relay contestants raised around $400.
Just because the annual event is over doesn’t mean participants stop raising money, Fitzpatrick said. Donations are accepted until August.
“I relay because when I moved to Maryland, one of the kids on my street had cancer,” Fitzpatrick said. “I used to go over there all the time to study because he couldn’t go to school a lot.”
Along with her friend, Fitzpatrick’s uncle passed away from cancer caused by previous cancer treatments he received. Her aunt also passed away from breast cancer, which she was diagnosed with while she was pregnant.
Those who would like to donate can do so at http://www.relayforlife.org/wvuwv.