Detroit— Last year, Randy Lagrou wasn’t prepared for what it would take to strip to his underwear and run nearly naked through downtown Detroit in February to raise money for charity.
This year, he knew what to do.
“I had a girl decorate me this year,” said the Livonia resident, who was dressed as the mythological Cupid, complete with bow and arrow, little red wings and tiny heart stickers covering his body.
Lagrou and his team, “Mixin’ It Up” raised around $1,000 for Saturday’s Cupid’s Undie Run, the annual outdoor fun run that raises money for The Children’s Tumor Foundation.
The primary goal is to raise money for research into neurofibromatosis, a condition that can lead to the formation of tumors all over the body, blindness, bone deformities, seizures, severe itching, pain, learning disabilities and cancer.
But for many of the 1,000 attendees in their elaborate and revealing attire, the event was also a chance to get a little wild.
“It’s to support a good cause and I had a lot of fun,” said Lagrou.
The Detroit event was one of 34 across the country and in Australia.
On Saturday, the fun run took underwear clad participants on a roughly mile-long track around Grand Circus Park and Comerica Park.
Before and after the race, runners gathered inside the Fillmore theater for drinks and dancing.
Quicken Loans founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert pledged to match up to $1,000 in pledges for each runner in Detroit and Cleveland that raises at least $500. Gilbert was instrumental in getting the run to come to Detroit for the first time last year. He is the father of a child with neurofibromatosis.
The event raised more than $200,000, said race director John Marcicky.
“it takes a lot more than a polar vortex to stop a lot of passionate Detroiters who want to run around in their underwear,” said Marcicky.
Alex Kates and his family came from across the U.S. to be with their grandmother Juanita Victor on her 100th birthday. When they found out the Undie Run was the same weekend, they knew they had to participate because their grandmother has neurofibromatosis.
“We’re so excited to be able to join with the cousins, raise money for NF and celebrate with our grandmother,” said Kates, of Providence, Rhode Island. Together they raised $1,500 to donate.
Another family was using the Undie Run as a way to gather for a good cause and celebrate together.
Nick Derocher’s brothers ran to support him in the fun run, just days after he came out of the hospital. The Farmington Hills resident has neurofibromatosis II, which is a rare form of the disease.
Brothers Alex and Dan Derocher dressed in their undies and carried flags for their eldest brother, who was there to watch.
“It was really good to be here for him and have him participate,” said Dan Derocher.
Added their mother Tisa Barna, “When they run for him, it’s very touching.”