By Lucy Schwartz, news correspondent
Approximately 700 residents of the Greater Boston area took to the streets to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation on Sunday-wearing nothing but underwear. Cupid’s Undie Run is a one-mile run organized to raise money for the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to ending neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic degenerative disease.
This year, 37 cities in the United States and 14 cities in Australia participated in the Undie Run, aiming to surpass last year’s fundraising total of $3.5 million and come that much closer to finding a cure for NF.
“We brought 700 people in their undies together to run through Fenway Park and support The Children’s Tumor Foundation. We made a difference in the lives of children across the world,” said Kaitlyn Greenleaf, one of the race’s directors. “Yes, our goals were achieved. But, we are always pushing to grow the event and raise additional dollars.”
Runners were decked out in their finest, many wearing undergarments with the printed phrase “I take my pants off for charity,” spandex, red bow ties, animal onesies and even a Burger King mascot rubber mask.
Attendees of the Undie Run included professionals within the medical field, people diagnosed with NF and individuals passionate about curing NF.
Jason Stone, 37, a program director at a correctional alternative center and a former professor at Northeastern University, ran Cupid’s Undie Run for his first time this year by joining an experienced team. He has no connection to NF, but he was recruited for the run by a friend who has a kid who had childhood cancer.
“I think it is a great cause, a lot of fun and it is for a good purpose,” Stone said.
Cara Ludwick, a clinical research coordinator at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, was supportive of what the run stood for.
“I work in the medical field so I think it is a special and interesting way to raise money for a great cause and raise awareness for a not well–known problem,” Ludwick said.
For Madalyn Gibson-Williams, a junior at Brandeis University, and Kelly Robbins, a graduate student at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, this run is personal. Both women are diagnosed with NF and 2017 marked their first time participating in Cupid’s Undie Run.
“It was fun. We are very thankful that there are people who support our cause,” Robbins said. “They care. They are really here for that instead of for just running in underwear.”
Mental health counselor and Brighton resident Nick Grafton was among the runners on Sunday. His team and he had high energy both in terms of enthusiasm for running through Fenway and finding a cure for NF.
“A bunch of people running around in their underwear for charity? What could be better,” Grafton said.
Photo by Dylan Shen