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Undie Run benefits children with NF
LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. (Bob Herzog) -- Jesse Markland is playing a game on his mom's iphone as we sit here in the hallway of Central Elementary School in Lawrenceburg. It's a Battleship game. And that's appropriate because Jesse is unsinkable. "My goodness. What happened there, bud? Can you tell me? Well, the doctors had to put a knife there to get rid of one of my tumors."
Neurofibramatosis or NF might not be something you've heard of but it's a disease that affects one in three-thousand people. For Jesse, NF has caused tumors both inside and outside of his body, meaning multiple surgeries, some struggles at school and bouts of excruciating pain. Scary stuff for the whole Markland family. "And there's no treatment and no cure," says mom Jill, "It makes you feel helpless but, you know, it knocks you off your feet at first but you have to get your act together and do something about it. You can't be a victim to NF.
Jill, is now the president of the Ohio chapter of the Children's Tumor Foundation and sits on CTF's board of directors in New York City. Jesse's dad, Rodney, Lawrenceburg police officer, has raised money for the battle in innumerable ways including the 3,300 mile race across America.
Big brother, Blake, has become quite the spokesperson for the cause. "It's good to know there are other people helping us out with all of this and they're also helping out the other families too because they're going through the same stuff as we are."
And so this weekend, the family will be supporting a big fundraiser for CTF, but Jessie and Blake won't be there for the bulk of the festivities. And there's a reason for that, "people run around in their underwear and bathing suits".
Last year's Cupid's Undie Run went through Mount Adams. Worldwide the goal of these events in 2014 is to raise over 3 million dollars for the Chidren's Tumor Foundation. Locally, organizers hope to make over one-hundred thousand dollars, staring at a new location, Arnie's on the Levee in Newport. "We've got 700 people signed up to run. We're going to be running across the Ohio River. Hopefully the weather holds out for us."
Justin Campbell is the man in charge of this scantily clad collection of do-gooders. And he isn't surprised at all at how people have flocked to this fundraiser, without getting their panties in a wad. "Getting people to strip down to their underwear and go running through the streets is a party that throws itself."
So if you see some people running across the Taylor Southgate Bridge scantily dressed, and it's an image that you just can't handle, then focus on the images Jesse, Cole, Kendall, Travis, Mason, Quentin and Kendall, all kids suffering from NF and all kids who will benefit from Cupid's Undie Run. So remember Jill's motto, "Anything that puts money in the scientists hands to stop this disorder, i'm for it. Whatever the law will allow."
Cupid's Undie Run is sold out but you can still donate or get more information by clicking the link.