7-year-old's parents run in only undies to raise awareness about son's genetic disorder

Despite the cold expected on Saturday, don't be surprised if you see people running through downtown Minneapolis in just their underwear.

The “Cupids Undie Run” is a fun fundraiser for a very serious cause. The run raises money for called neurofibromatosis or NF. It’s a genetic disorder most of us have not heard of, but it’s more common than cystic fibrosis, MS or ALS and it can be life-changing at any age.

About 1 in 25 people in the United States have NF, which equates to about 1,000 people across the Twin Cities metro.

Seven-year-old Colton Simpson is one of those 1,000 people with NF. When he was about six months old, his mom discovered what she thought were bruises, but later learned were actually café au latte spots on his skin – one of the telltale signs of NF.

For Colton, this meant having his adenoids and appendix removed, speech delays and constantly waiting for other issues to develop.

“His day-to-day is completely normal, but we know that that can change,” Colton’s mom, Sarah said. “The the type of tumor he has in his leg can become cancerous.”

NF involves every organ in the body, according to Dr. Christopher Moertel. He says there is no cure and extreme cases can cause everything from spine problems to blindness because the tumors attach to a patient’s nervous system. 

It's a lifelong condition that plenty of people may be living with and not even know it.

Colton’s mom and dad will be running in their underwear on Saturday raising month for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. 

The majority of the money raised will come right back to the University of Minnesota, which happens to be one of the top centers for NF research in the country.

“It feels so empowering that we can make a difference.  And we are moving toward medical changes that can change his life,” Simpson said. 

Colton doesn't fully realize all of that, but he does know that how his parents are trying to help him is pretty cool.

“It’s kind of funny and I kind of wish I could do it with them,” Colton said.

The Simpson team has already raised more than $43,000, much of that thanks to Colton’s grandparents who are matching any donations.

If you would like to donate or sign up for the Undie Run, visit my.cupids.org/SarahSimpson