7th annual Underwear Affair raises over half a million dollars for the Alberta Cancer Foundation

2013 event draws 900 participants to race, walk or complete challenges in downtown Calgary wearing underwear and outrageous attire in support of breakthrough research and the discovery of new cancer therapies at The Tom Baker Cancer Centre and 16 other cancer centres across Alberta.

CALGARY, June 1, 2013 /CNW/ - The 7th annual Underwear Affair announced 900 participants raised over half a million dollars for the Alberta Cancer Foundation to support breakthrough research and the discovery of new cancer therapies at The Tom Baker Cancer Centre and 16 other cancer centres across Alberta.  Participants raced, walked and completed challenges through downtown Calgary wearing underwear and outrageous costumes to generate funds and drive awareness for cancers that occur below the belt.

"In Alberta, 33% of diagnosed cancers occur below-the-waist, and include cancers such prostate, colorectal, ovarian, testicular, bladder, cervical, and uterine," said Myka Osinchuk, Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

"The Underwear Affair plays a key role in helping us pursue a cancer-free future for all Albertans, and we are grateful to all Albertans who helped contribute to this year's success.  The more than half a million dollars raised is already being used to power vital programs across the province that ensure thousands of Albertans will receive colorectal and cervical screenings through our 17 Alberta cancer centres," added Osinchuk.

The event started and finished at Max Bell Arena and participants chose to complete a chip-timed 10K race, 5K walk or series of challenges called "The Booty Hunt."  The event took place in downtown Calgary and local residents gathered along the route to support race participants.  The event concluded with a thrilling after-party at Max Bell Arena where participants enjoyed hot meals, beverages, music and dancing.

"My wife Ashleigh was diagnosed with a rare and very aggressive form of cervical cancer a month before our wedding," said Dave Olfert, a first-year participant and resident of Calgary.

"She has since under gone chemotherapy, a radical hysterectomy, radiation therapy and will soon be going through further treatment.  Ashleigh's goal was to get a group of people together and participate in the Calgary Underwear Affair. With this wonderful woman as my inspiration, I am determined to walk 5K and know the funds raised will help better her health and allow for continued research so our son will always have his mommy," Olfert added.

In 7 years, The Underwear Affair in Calgary raised over $5.4 million for The Alberta Cancer Foundation, and funds raised support a range of early screening programs across the province.

Dr. Dean Ruether, a medical oncologist who leads the provincial Genitourinary and Endocrine tumor groups and is the clinical leader of the cancer care teams at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre says effective screening methods exist for some of the common cancers which occur below the waist.

"We need to ensure that all Albertans are engaged appropriately in screenings, and where effective screenings do not exist, we need to encourage discussion about taboo topics and work to develop screenings for these other cancers to improve our ability to detect disease early and intervene successfully," Dr. Ruether added.

"Early detection is vital for a successful outcome, yet most people simply don't make early screenings their priority.  The Underwear Affair presents a unique opportunity to raise critical funds while landing a simple, effective message about the importance of early detection and annual screenings," Dr. Ruether concluded.

The Alberta Cancer Foundation announced the 2014 event will be held on June 7th and encouraged participants to register as soon as possible.

"We hope everyone in Alberta to join us for our 8th Annual Underwear Affair next year in Calgary.  Register now at www.uncoverthecure.org or call (403) 269-3337," added Osinchuk.

To register, donate or receive information about the 2014 Underwear Affair, visit www.uncoverthecure.org or call (403) 269-3337.

ABOUT THE ALBERTA CANCER FOUNDATIONThe Alberta Cancer Foundation is Alberta's own. It was established to advance cancer research province-wide and to directly support Alberta's 17 cancer centres, including the Cross Cancer Institute and Tom Baker Cancer Centre. At the Alberta Cancer Foundation, we believe a cancer-free future is both possible and inevitable. When we get there, depends on the focus and energy we put to it today. Visit http://albertacancer.ca/.

Media Photos From Today's Event: CLICK HERE

SOURCE: Alberta Cancer Foundation

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Lauren Scott, Communications Manager

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