Ali Ball’s son was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis (NF) in 2016. The condition can cause tumors to form in the brain, spinal cord and nerves. Now, Ball is organizing an “undie run” with the help of Cupid’s Charity, a national nonprofit that funds research for neurofibromatosis. The event, which takes place starting at noon on Feb. 8, is only open to those 21 and older. Learn more at cupids.org.
What do you do when you’re not organizing an undie run?
Currently, I stay at home with the kids. We have three little ones, and I do a lot of volunteering at the school—full-time momma.
Right on. How did you first hear of neurofibromatosis?
In 2016, our son was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis. We couldn’t pronounce it. We had no idea what it was. It was a pretty scary, scary thing for us. We kind of didn’t have any direction or any support. We hadn’t met anyone ever—we’d never heard of it. So, that’s where our journey started. Reno doesn’t really have much of a community or even a lot of doctors who specialize in the condition. It’s one-in-3,000 births that are diagnosed with it. So our son was actually 6 when he was diagnosed, which is a little bit later than a lot of times. Yeah, it was definitely scary.
When was your first Cupid’s run?
We participated for the first time last year. We went to San Francisco. I was on the search for some way that I could get involved in some sort of NF community. As a parent of a child with NF, there’s not a lot you can do as far as treatment goes. It’s very “wait and see.” So, we really felt like there was not much we could do. Getting involved with an event or a charity was a way that I could feel like I was doing something to help our son. Last year, we participated in the San Francisco run—my husband and I. … It was just such a fun, light-hearted, silly event. But, at the same time, we got to meet other families who were going through something similar to us, who had had more experience. For me, it felt like I was actually getting to be active in my child’s health.
The runs fund research, yes?
Cupid’s Charity donates a hundred percent of its net to a group called Children’s Tumor Foundation. And they are the leading nonprofit actively working to find a cure for neurofibromatosis, as well as treatment options.
Was San Francisco your first time ever running in your underwear?
Yes, this is not something that would be my normal M.O. It’s not something that most people would expect me to do. The thing that really got me about Cupid’s Undie Run was that their story starts in 2010. It was a group of friends that were just rallying around their friend that had been diagnosed with NF. Part of the statement was, you know, that people who have NF have tumors all over their bodies. They can’t hide those with their clothing. … In solidarity, they strip down to their underwear for the day.
Talk about the Reno undie run.
We’re starting out at the Saint on Virginia Street—have a little pre-party time. And then we will run up a side street up to Plumas. We’ll run down Plumas to California, and then finish the mile-ish run right down Virginia Street—so right through midtown. … The event starts at noon and goes until 4 p.m., after our mile-long run, walk, jog, whatever you can do. We’ll have a little bit more partying, dancing, drinks and celebration. … [The Saint] is open exclusively for the event, so only people in their undies. … The run starts at 2 p.m.