MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — On Friday, West Virginia University invited the Morgantown community to join the fight against cancer with their annual student-led Relay for Life event with this year’s theme being Pirates of Cure-ibbean.

The relay was held at the Shell Building on the Evansdale Campus where organizers say there was plenty of entertainment and games for everyone to participate in. They said that all the money they raise will benefit research by the American Cancer Society to find a cure.

“The last in-person event was in 2019. So, we kind of had to go off the event being online last year. So, this was very new to us,” said Juliet Hart, Co-Event Lead for WVU and Monongalia County Relay for Life. “It is great to get WVU involved, a lot of organizations through WVU are here, but it is also great to get the community involved, our advisor Beth Bailey, she really helped us get the community involved and we have a great turnout so far and we’re very happy with that.”

The event included a wing eating contest, a craft table, and a ceremony was during the event to honor those who have battled cancer. During the relay, both the Mountaineer and WVU President Gordon Gee made an appearance.

“Luminaria and Relay for Life are really important to me because people around my life suffered being, having cancer, and it just really brings everyone together in the community to honor people, support people, and just come together. And it is so great with how much support we’ve had with this,” said Jenna Lenhart, Co-Event Lead for WVU and Monongalia County Relay for Life.

As a student-led organization, WVU and Relay for Life of Monongalia County raised more than $23,000 for the American Cancer Society’s mission in 2022. Since 1985, Relay for Life has raised $6.8 Billion, allowing the American Cancer Society to invest $3.1 Billion in cancer research, contributing to 3.5 million fewer deaths.

“This is a great event, Relay for Life is a very special event, I have participated in them in different places and different ways, but it is always wonderful to see people come out and support what is an unbelievably important cause. As you know, we have a great cancer institute here, we are going to build a brand-new cancer hospital which will be yet another addition so that no one in this state will ever have to leave to get the very best world-class care for cancer,” said E. Gordon Gee, President of West Virginia University. “I also want to say that cancer affects everyone, I have been personally impacted.”

Officials with the American Cancer Society stated that the funds raised help in several ways by providing education and advocating for the needs of cancer patients and their families and providing essential services throughout a person’s cancer journey.