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Undie-clad local runs for cancer cure

Saturday's Underwear Affair will mark Lauren van Keulen's fifth race

By: Amy Crofts

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jun 14, 2014 06:00 am

UNDIE RUN - Lauren van Keulen, left, and teammates are clad in their skivvies for the Underwear Affair cancer fundraiser run in Edmonton on Saturday.
UNDIE RUN - Lauren van Keulen, left, and teammates are clad in their skivvies for the Underwear Affair cancer fundraiser run in Edmonton on Saturday.
Supplied photo

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Drawers Dash

Van Keulen is running the 10 kilometre race on Saturday with her team, The Gym Class Heroes.
Visit their team page here: http://bit.ly/1hNniFi

Whoever pledges Lauren van Keulen the most money by Saturday will get to pick the skivvies she will run in.

Up until Wednesday, it was her grandma.

“I don’t think she knew about the outfit,” chuckles van Keulen.

Had Grandma been the highest bidder, she probably would have picked long johns or underthings a tad more conservative than a sport bra and shorts, admits the 24-year-old.

Van Keulen’s sister was her lucky stylist one year and chose an ’80s themed workout outfit, complete with high-waisted bikini bottoms and sweatbands.

Saturday’s Underwear Affair starting at the Butterdome in Edmonton will mark van Keulen’s fifth 10-kilometre race, a fundraiser for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

“It’s fun, goofy and low pressure,” she says.

Runners are encouraged to take to the streets in their underwear to raise awareness for cancers that occur below the belt. They can partake in a five-kilometre or 10-kilometre race or the Booty Hunt – a scavenger hunt.

The St. Albert resident first participated in 2010 as an engineering student at the University of Alberta. Initially she was hesitant because she didn’t think she could finish the course.

“A lot of people don’t sign up because they don’t think they can do it. That’s not true,” says van Keulen, shaking her head. “Anyone can do it.”

Van Keulen spearheaded her own team the following year.

It’s one thing to pick a goal and run for yourself, she says, but it’s different when you are running to raise money and other people are counting on you.

The cause is important to the 24-year-old because three members of her family have had brushes with cancer. Her grandmother survived ovarian cancer, her father-in-law had testicular cancer and her father had a cancerous cyst removed in 2010.

“You might get tired during the run, but that’s nothing compared to those who are fighting cancer,” says van Keulen.

“It’s such a small thing I can do to raise awareness.”

Van Keulen has raised more than $5,000 for the Underwear Affair over the past five years.

The proceeds support research for new cancer therapies through the Alberta Cancer Foundation at the Cross Cancer Institute, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, and 15 other centres across the province. Funds raised by the event over the past eight years total more than $10.9 million.


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