Cupid’s Undie Runners Drop Their Pants for Charity
Mar 17, 2024

Cupid’s Undie Runners Drop Their Pants for Charity

Reporting Texas TV

AUSTIN, Texas — Around 150 people ran through the streets of Austin in February wearing nothing but their underwear to bring awareness to Neurofibromatosis.

Cupid’s Undie Run benefits the Children’s Tumor Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for Neurofibromatosis (NF). Cupid’s Undie Run event director Meera Rajagopalan said the disease causes tumors to grow on skin.

“We bear it all because we want people to stop and ask us why we’re doing it, and by doing so, we’re able to share our mission and help spread it even more,” Rajagopalan said.

The run came to Austin eleven 11 years ago. Johanna Orozco has attended the run for a decade and said she has seen Austin make Cupid’s Undie Run its own.

“It seemed like an Austin run because it sounds weird to run around in your underwear,” Orozco said.

“It’s a nationwide run, but it really seems to fit us here, and to see us take hold of it and want to do more every year, it’s just been great to see.”

Cupid’s Undie Run team Hot X Buns poses for a photo at Kung Fu Saloon in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (Melody Jones/Reporting Texas TV)

Participants such as Andrew Hamor, this year’s top fundraiser, said the undie part of the run isn’t just a marketing tactic.

“People with NF can’t hide whatever’s affecting them if they have tumors, and so we take our robes off and we can’t hide either,” Hamor said.

Hamor joined Cupid’s Undie Run three years ago when he learned his 9-month-old son, Ike, had NF. He runs with a team named “We Like Ike.” The 17 members raised a total of$31,000 for NF research.

Donations fund clinical trials that test potential treatments for NF. In 2020, research from the Children’s Tumor Foundation led to the first FDA-approved drug for Neurofibromatosis.

Tom Martindale, a 63-year-old NF patient, said he runs so children with NF won’t struggle to form relationships in a looks oriented society.

“I don’t want any kid to have to feel like they are less than trying to make it in the world,” Martindale said.

He has hundreds of tumors on his face and body. When someone approaches him, he said the defense shields go up.

“Out of every rude person there’s been 100 great people,” Martindale said.

One in every 2,000 people are born with NF. Martindale said Cupid’s Undie Run allows him to meet more people like him.

“I hope it continues to thrive until the need is not there any longer,”Martindale said.

The Austin fundraising efforts were seventh out of 31 participating cities this year, raising $84,000.

Andrew Hamor said he’s thankful to have his family’s and friend’s support.

“We’re not the type of people who are going to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves,” Hamor said. “One thing we can do is try to generate money that funds critical research and hopefully finds a cure someday.”

Numerous clinical trials are underway. The Children’s Tumor Foundation continues to partner with organizations devoted to ending NF. Cupid’s Undie Run raised $23.7 million for NF over the years.

“This is a great party but it goes to so much more,” Orozco said.

“This is so much more than just the Cupid’s Undie Run. It’s a wonderful charitable organization made up by people who truly care about the outcome.”