Captain Underpants to the start line
The Reminder, Flin Flon, Manitoba
He never thought he would be in this position. He never thought he would be the one fighting for his life.
But Cliff Melnick was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago.
Battling the disease, stress of the ordeal and transportation, Melnick beat the odds. The cancer was successful eradicated nearly a year ago.
Going through treatments in Edmonton so he could be close to family, Melnick returned to Flin Flon not only with a new appreciation, but a new nickname as well.
He was Captain Underpants. Dressed in borrowed underwear, both men?s and women's, sewn onto a night shirt, and cloaked in a purple velvet cape adorned with ?Captain Underpants? in gold lettering, Melnick is now looking to help other cancer patients.
With the love of friends, who are more like family, and his sister and father by his side, Melnick ? or Captain Underpants ? is seeking financial support for those who are going through the same treatments he required, and more.
Captain Underpants will be walking five kilometres ? with His Underthings (family and friends) by his side ? in The Underwear Affair on June 18 in Edmonton.
Fighting both male and female below-the- belt cancers, the rally raises money and awareness for several types of the disease, including prostate, colorectal, ovarian, testicular, bladder, cervical and uterine.
?Participation in The Underwear Affair helps lift the taboo connected with cancers below the waist,? reads The Underwear Affair?s website. ?The Underwear Affair is helping to shed some light on these often hidden and under-funded cancers. ?
Clear for a year himself, Melnick says this is the first time he?s been able to participate in an event like this.
?It?s very emotional,? Melnick said.
Fighting the raw and evident emotions going along with his journey over the past two years, Melnick didn?t think he would ever have to go through such an experience.
?Everyone knows someone who...has lost someone to cancer,? he said.
Though Melnick says he didn?t see himself participating in a rally for this reason, it?s now something he?d like to do every year.
?Besides, I?ve got 200 pairs of spare underwear for the next rally,? he said with a laugh.
But for this year, Melnick will walk with His Underthings one step at a time.
By his side from the start, Melnick?s sister will walk in the rally, along with close friends.
Though Melnick would love for his father to join them on the walk, due to recent health conditions that won?t be possible. His dad will provide the same support he did during Melnick?s treatments.
While in Edmonton, Melnick visited his father every day before his treatment. The men quickly got into a routine.
?He would say ?goodbye,? ?good luck? and ?I?ll be right here,?? said Melnick.
Captain Underpants has been hitting the streets of Flin Flon in search of support so he can participate in the rally.
With love, support and luck on his side, Melnick has already surpassed the $300 entry fee for the rally.
Though the ?sky is the limit? when it comes to fundraising, Captain Underpants hopes to bring in a couple thousand dollars for the cause.
As an event close to his heart, Melnick is proud to be able to participate in this rally.
While undergoing treatment, Melnick was surprised by the support he received as friends from Flin Flon took holidays to be with him in Edmonton.
During the two months leading up to the treatment, the three months of treatment and the three months of recovery, Melnick was never alone.
?Friends of mine accompanied me to every treatment,? he said.
Melnick first heard of The Underwear Affair while at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, as pamphlets were left in the waiting rooms.
Though he wasn?t able to participate last year, Melnick says he is ready to go this year.
Proceed from The Underwear Affair will remain at the Cross Cancer Institute as well as 15 other centers throughout Alberta.
*This article ran in The Reminder, in Flin Flon, Manitoba, on June 3, 2011