Participants in the annual Cupid’s Undie Run wore nothing more than their underwear in freezing temperatures at the starting line outside Xfinity Live in South Philadelphia.
Cupid’s Charity organizes Cupid’s Undie Runs across the country, a fundraising event held to raise awareness and help fundraise for research on Neurofibromatosis, a disease which causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body.
“People with Neurofibromatosis are often uncomfortable,” said Sandy Frenia, the Philadelphia Cupid’s Undie Run race director. “We figured if they could live being uncomfortable all the time, we can be uncomfortable for a few minutes in underwear.”
Frenia has been involved with the Children’s Tumor Foundation, which Cupid’s Charity supports, since 2007, when her youngest child was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis.
The charity has raised $21 million since it began in 2010, with all net proceeds funding research through the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
Ashley Miskowski, a teacher from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, lost her father to Neurofibromatosis when she was 7 years old.
“Running in the cold for a mile-ish is nothing compared to what they endure everyday,” said Miskowski.
She has ran in the event for nine years to bring awareness to the disease that impacted her family.
Every year the event starts with partying inside Xfinity Live, followed by an award ceremony for donors, then the short half-mile run and finally a dance party to finish the day off.
“It’s great energy, but it’s really about the message behind the run,” said Matt Robertson, a physical therapist from Morristown, New Jersey, who has been running in the event for six years. “Supporting these kids that go through so much, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The run in Philadelphia is in its 10th year and has raised more than $2 million. This year, Philadelphia raised more than $140,000, the most money out of any city in the country, Frenia said.
“This is a great organization and we just want to help in our small way,” said James Molenari, who teaches fifth graders at the Central Bucks School District. “People are excited to be here. It’s the middle of winter. People want to get out and have a little bit of fun and do good.”