Wow.  What an incredible 2 day segment of this beautiful life I experienced over this weekend.  I will forever hoard memories from this stay in Grand Lake, Colorado dubbed by us Cupids as “Camp Cupid”.  The purpose of the occasion was for all the race directors for the Cupid’s Undie Run to gather. To meet, be lead and informed, share ideas, and begin a venture that we will all separately but collaboratively be part of working towards this year’s “end results” that is, February 15th, 2014, the day of our year.  This nonprofit organization was started from the recognition of a problem, an innovative idea, and a gut-wrenching closeness to the sucky genetically inherited disorder that is NF.

For those of you who don’t know what NF is, I’d love to inform.  It stands for neurofibromatosis.  There are 3 levels of this disorder however NF1 affects approximately 1 in 3,000 children born.  That number is enough for me to want answers.  Although there are various levels of pain, disability, and discomfort these children experience, I believe any pain deserves comforting.  Our children are our future and they deserve to know our generation has done something to provide answers and motivation for them to live a quality life.

I personally have been touched by NF through a young man I’ve never met.  His name is Drew “Drewbie” Fowler and he is 5 years old, as of 5 days ago.  Drew is a big brother, a bright eyed charming lover of all things Gaga and Disney, a son to two strong and beautiful parents, and the little cousin to a few individuals that have always been a blessing to my soul since the day they walked into my life.  As soon as my friend told me of Drew’s struggles with optic glioma and showed me his darling face, I was hooked on demanding help and answers.

A friend of Drew’s mother had started a gofundme page for Drew and I began sharing that, and making a donation if and when I could.  Then friends and I were going to a girls’ birthday weekend trip in Nashville and looked into things to do that weekend.  That was when we stumbled across a link to Cupid’s Undie Run.  I saw these things: undies, run, drinking, benefiting Children’s Tumor Foundation which aims to#EndNF.  To say my girls and I are a bit ridiculous may be an understatement but I still held nerves in asking my friends to join me in this run, as it took place on the day of my girlfriend’s birthday.  But I asked anyway.  To my delight, they both accepted with enthusiasm!  Right there and then, we committed to making #DrewCrew (an already formed name by the elite crew of people involved in keeping Drew and his family strong through this battle) as strong as the 3 of us possibly could in the 3-4 weeks until this run.  There was absolutely no shame in our fundraising game; sharing, tweeting and texting links to our page with coworkers, friends, family, ex-boyfriends, old coaches, people who had debts with us.

Immediately upon arrival to the run’s venue, we felt uplifted seeing how many people were thrilled to be decked out on this chilly Nashville day, in their underpants.  We had worn pants, but they didn’t stay on long.  Once in the venue, showing off our neon double layered Target purchased undies that read “famous” across the green pair, seemed necessary and above coziness levels of this crowd.  In just 3 hours, we felt pride in being recognized for best costumes, we felt victory in raising the amount we did, and we felt accomplishment for running a couple miles despite the cold, but ultimately we felt a part of an atmosphere and “crew” of fun-loving people who desired to do good to help those affected.  And we didn’t want to leave it.

Fast forward 6 months.  After harassing the Nashville race directors (I’ll forever be grateful to you Morgan and Michael!) via twitter, and the Master of the Undie-verse (yes, she’s a real person, and such a delight!) via email I was honored to be chosen as the director for Charleston, South Carolina’s first annual Cupid’s Undie Run.  What came next was an invite to this #CampCupid.

Prior to my touch down in Denver, I had excitement to meet all these new people (I kind of love people).  I had excitement to visit Colorado (24th state to visit on a bucket list item of “visiting all 50”).  I had excitement to learn some details about what to do to get this event planning process kick started.  I had an image in my mind of pretty mountains and some crisp brisk air.  What I didn’t have, is a clue, as to what the next two days would actually include.

After typical airport crisis of ‘anything that could go wrong with flight scheduling… will’ if my name is on the passenger roster, I arrived in Denver hours after planned, and in a new arrangement of Cupids.  Still, the excitement never fled.  Everyone involved was so calm about last minute plan transfers.  The ride from the airport to Grand Lake was instantly an adventure.  I claim to be a decent driver but let’s just say darkness and switchbacks are a new task in Kreezy’s book.  The 3 girls riding with helped navigate and kept the feel of the unknown travels a true and heartfelt adventure.  Even our stop at the gas station (which just so happened to feature a liquor store beside it) was a thrill, all making decisions based on what could blend well with Rumchata.

Team building exercises were already in action when we arrived.  Although I had met 2 of the individuals in the group prior (My “mom” and “dad”, Tamara and Brendan!), hugs and welcoming from all were equally as warm.  Immediately after a game of “two truths and a lie”, it felt like a family holiday I’d attended my whole life.  The room’s overall atmosphere simply contained kindness and greatness and it was an undeniable feeling of joy.

Throughout the next two days I experienced many firsts.  I saw a moose.  I saw a black bear.  I went white water rafting.  I ran (vigorously attempted trotting) at 12,000 ft elevation.  I saw 2 paddle boarders do a headstand while cruising down the river.  I jumped a 25 ft. cliff into the chilled Colorado River.  I ate paleo (Thank you Caveman Catering!).  I think I had altitude sickness.  I am confident I turned a 60 something year old man into a Miley Cyrus superfan and….. and never mind.  (Some things that happen on O’Ryan’s raft, stay on O’Ryan’s raft) But for not one of those experiences was I alone.  They say no matter how concrete you stage a plan; no two individuals experience it as the same experience. But somehow over these two days it felt like we all joined, collaborated, and departed, to go our separate ways with the same experience at hand.  We have a goal; to end NF.   Along the way we have an obligation; to raise as much money as we possibly can with the help of our registrants to devote to helping those affected.  And we have a strategy; to achieve quality relationships with those who share our visualization about owning Valentine’s Day.  Steve Holy says “Love Don’t Run”.  Well, the Holy City Cupid says “Love DOES Run”, and we’re doing it in our undies!

To say we’re touched is an understatement.  To say we’re invested is a challenge.  I believe that after the strategically organized and well-balanced #CampCupid, we are ready!  Shout out to my fellow memory hoarder, for encouraging me to continue to put down in words, how won-der-ful life is (c’mon no one really believed I can go an entire piece without a musical reference right?).  You’re a gem Ms. Alison and I support your dreams, your passion, your heart and your brand.  @krazykreezy love @powderedfeet

If anyone would like to donate directly to #DrewCrew, please visit his gofundme page.  Your genorosity is immeasureably appreciated by his family.

Cupid's Undie Run

Cupid’s Undie Run

-Kryssy Andrash Crescent Fitness Athlete


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