News / Calgary

Underwear Affair is over but spirit to live on as part of Calgary Marathon

The Underwear Affair is no more, but some Calgarians are hoping to keep the spirit of the skivvies alive by running and walking in their unmentionables as part of this year’s Calgary Marathon.

After eight years and $11 million raised, the Alberta Cancer Foundation (ACF) decided to discontinue the annual run/walk in Calgary and Edmonton that encouraged participants to strip down to raise money for research into “below-the-waist” cancers.

Kristal Turner took part in last year’s Underwear Affair in Calgary after doctors discovered abnormal cells in her cervix during a routine screening, and she was disappointed to find out there would be no event in 2015.

“For someone like me, it’s a huge concern because below-the-belt cancers … they already get very little attention and it’s partly because people are made so uncomfortable by it,” she said.

Turner is now spearheading an effort to encourage Calgarians to incorporate the outrageous outfits of the Underwear Affair into the Calgary Marathon and dedicate the ACF as their charity of choice during the race registration.

The foundation is also offering to waive this year’s marathon registration fee for past Underwear Affair participants.

“To combine a really established event like the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon with the Underwear Affair just made sense,” said Daryl Silzer, an associate vice-president with the ACF.

Participation rates had been dropping in the Underwear Affair to the point that “it got us questioning” whether continuing the event made financial sense, Silzer said, as compared to other fundraising avenues.

“We just want to ensure that we’re fiscally responsible to our donors and to our supporters and make sure that every single dollar possible can go back into cancer research,” he said.

Turner said she hopes to not only continue raising funds, but also awareness, and encouraged others interested in participating to contact her on Twitter: @KristalTurner.

“We need to get the word out there that early detection is key to making sure that people have a really good survival rate,” she said.

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