The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 22, 2013

Mom will doff garments to raise funds for research

JOHNSTOWN — Misty Plunkard plans to strip down to her skivvies and hit the ground running, but it’s all for a good cause.

The Windber resident plans to participate in the one-mile Cupid’s Undie Run that will be held Feb. 9 in Washington, D.C., to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, which is dedicated to ending neurofibromatosis (NF) through research.

Plunkard’s son, Tyler, was diagnosed with NF at 1 year old and has a noncancerous tumor on his left optic nerve. Now 23 months old, he undergoes chemotherapy treatments once a month at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to shrink the tumor.

“He is responding well, and we have a couple more sessions and then a break and an MRI to see if the tumor is growing back,” Plunkard said. “This will be an ongoing procedure and lifelong for him.”

NF currently has no cure and limited treatment options. The genetic disorder causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and can lead to blindness, deafness, learning disabilities and severe chronic pain.

Plunkard said little information is available on NF, and she had never heard of it until Tyler’s diagnosis.

When she learned about the run, she knew she wanted to be a part of the day.

“I want to raise money to help find a cure or different types of treatments,” Plunkard said. “I want to be able to help where I can, and this undie run is a fun way to raise money.”

“Team Tyler” is made up of five members, and to date they have raised $1,005.

“My goal was to raise $500, so I’m just overwhelmed by the outreach from family and friends who have given to us,” Plunkard said. “Words can’t express how we feel.”

She said the team won’t get all the way down to their unmentionables. They plan to wear matching tank tops, boxer shorts and high socks.

“If it gets really cold, we’ll have to put on some Under Armour,” Plunkard said.

Her husband, John, along with daughter, Taylor, 7, and Tyler plan to be at the run cheering the team on to the finish line.

For more information on NF or to make a donation to “Team Tyler,” visit www.cupidsundierun.com.

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