'Gitchhiker' completes cross-country charity tour wearing only his underwear
Published Tuesday, December 4, 2012 7:09PM AST
Mark McIntyre ended a cross-country hitchhiking trip in Truro, N.S. today, but his journey across Canada wasn’t your typical adventure.
McIntyre left Vancouver on Nov. 14 and has been hitchhiking his way across the country wearing only his underwear, and raising money for cancer research along the way.
Out west, they call underwear gitch, so McIntyre decided to call himself the Gitchhiker.
In the Maritimes, Stanfield’s has been making underwear for more than a century. This fall, company officials wanted to come up with an unusual marketing campaign.
“What’s more Canadian than the Gitchhiker?” says company president John Stanfield.
“Having a guy in his underwear come across the country, give product away across the country, talk about our brand at the same time and raise awareness for a very good cause.”
“Apparently, if you come to Truro in your underwear, you get free cookies and there’s a whole bunch of people eating chilli too. I’m gonna dig into that later,” said McIntyre Tuesday.
The goal of his unusual trek is raise money and awareness for cancer research, and more specifically, for what has been called “below the waist” cancer in men.
Five years ago, McIntyre was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
“I was really lucky,” says McIntyre. “I was fortunate with my cancer. It was caught early and it was cured early and now I get to do silly things and maybe bring awareness to people that aren’t so fortunate.”
While he had plenty of cold days across the country, McIntyre received a warm welcome at the end of his journey.
The 43-year-old was greeted with a parade through the town of Truro, including a brass band and cheerleaders.
Stanfield’s worker Sandra Coulter made sure to get a picture with the guest of honour.
“I’ve been following him all across with this trip and my department is the one that makes the underwear that he’s been wearing, so it’s very interesting,” says Coulter.
The campaign may have been silly, but the seriousness of the cause was never lost.
“To see the amount of energy and enthusiasm that comes together from an organization and a community and really a country, Mark has done an incredible job of being very unique and inspiring many people to raise money for a great cause,” says Christine Baker of the Canadian Cancer Society.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh