Running with Cupid for a cure

MASON CITY, Iowa - It’s a run that has swept the nation over the past week, and for the first time ever, one of its hubs is in our area.

Feather boas, bright pink tutus and underwear make up the typical dress code you would see at a Cupid Undie Run, but it’s about more than just the outside.

This run benefits something that is happening on the inside of every 1 and 3,000 people, and Loni Dirksen, the event coordinator for the run and a Mason City resident, is one of them.

Loni was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, or NF, when she was just six months old; but it never stopped her from looking forward.

“I applied, and Mason City was one of 10 new cities that were selected out of 48 cities,” Dirksen said.

The Cupid Undie Run raises money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, and their goal this year is to raise $3 million for the cause.

Sheila Drevyanko is a part of the local chapter of the Children’s Tumor Foundation, and says, while these events can be surprisingly scandalous, at the end of the day, it’s all for an amazing cause.

“There aren’t a lot of treatments and the thing that we really want to stress is that neurofibromatosis, or NF for short, is a very common genetic disorder,” Drevyanko said, “it occurs one in every 3,000 people, which makes it more prevalent than cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s disease combined, yet many people have never heard of it.”

As for Loni, it’s something she is constantly thinking about thanks to the event, and thanks to the next major event in her life; motherhood.

Loni’s due date is just eleven days away and she says that because the disorder is genetic, there is a 50 percent chance her future little one will have NF as well.

Mason City’s run alone has raised nearly $40,000, which is more than the individual race donations from Charleston, Omaha, and Louisville.

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