Diane Kimi Akutagawa participated in Cupid’s Undie Run last year.
Diane Kimi Akutagawa participated in Cupid’s Undie Run last year.

By RYOKO NAKAMURA, Rafu Japanese Staff Writer

To support the Children’s Tumor Foundation, Cupid’s Undie Run, a charity event, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 14, at The Abby in West Hollywood.

The goal is to raise awareness, find a cure, and show support for people with neurofibromatosis (NF), a common, yet little-known, lifelong disorder. Currently, there is no cure for NF and there are only a few treatment options available.

The run has been held in major cities throughout the U.S. on Valentine’s weekend every year since 2012. It has successfully raised nearly $5 million for CTF to date, and it will aim to raise $5 million this year alone. Adding eight more cities from the previous year, it will be held in a total of 38 cities, including Los Angeles, this year.

From patients and their families to supporters, the participants will run/dance in their underwear around the streets and come back for post-race festivities. One of the participants, Diane Kimi Akutagawa of Thousand Oaks, formed her own team, Team Tighty Aphrodite, hoping to raise $2,000 for CTF.

Akutagawa was diagnosed with NF in 2007. Like many of us, she had never heard of the disorder and didn’t know anybody else with NF to share her concerns with. She often felt alone.

After visiting the CTF website to get more information, she learned that there were several fundraising events such as Cupid’s Undie Run and NF Walk. There, she met many people who went through the same emotional journey that she did.

According to CTF, NF affects roughly one in 3,000 births in the U.S. It is a distinct genetic disorder. Half of all cases are inherited from a parent who has NF, but the other half result from spontaneous mutations in sperm or egg cells.

The funds will be used for NF research to develop treatments and cures, support persons with NF and their families, assist in developing clinical centers and best practices for quality healthcare, expand public awareness of NF to improve diagnoses, and increase understanding of the challenges that NF presents.

Doors will open at noon at The Abby, 692 N. Robertson Blvd. in West Hollywood. Awards ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. The Undie Run will start at 2 p.m., followed by an after party.

Registration fee is $45 if you register by Jan. 30, $55 after that date. To register or for more information, visit www.cupidsundierun.com/city/los-angeles/.

To support Akutagawa’s team, go to her donation page, http://my.cupids.org/DianeAkutagawa.

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