Community Papers

‘Gitching’ a ride across Canada

Mark McIntyre will roll into Kamloops on Friday, Nov. 16, wearing nothing but underwear while sitting in the passenger seat of a stranger’s car. And, yes, it
Mark McIntyre will roll into Kamloops on Friday, Nov. 16, wearing nothing but underwear while sitting in the passenger seat of a stranger’s car. And, yes, it's all for a good cause.
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If everything goes according to plan, Mark McIntyre will roll into Kamloops some time on Friday, Nov. 16 wearing nothing but underwear while sitting in the passenger seat of a stranger’s car.

The 43-year-old Toronto man is not a masochist — at least that’s not why he’s embarked on a cross-country hitchhiking journey, clad in nothing but boxer briefs.

It’s to raise awareness of — and funds to help fight — prostate and testicular cancer.

And, you thought your moustache was manly.

The campaign, called The Gitchhiker, is sponsored by underwear-maker Stanfield’s.

If McIntyre makes it from coast to coast — Vancouver to Truro, N.S. — in 21 days, the skivvies company will pony up $20,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Having survived testicular cancer himself, McIntyre said he is motivated for the cross-country drawers drive.

But, that motivation didn’t necessarily translate to intense training.

“Mostly I just sat on my porch in my underwear when it was starting to get chilly in Toronto,” said McIntyre, who works as an actor and manages The Second City comedy club.

An acting job was what initially tipped McIntyre off to his cancer in 2008.

He was taking part in a program pairing actors with medical students.

The actors potrayed patients and the students worked on their bedside manner.

“I was going in frequently just to be a body,” McIntyre said.

“On one of the last ones I had of the season, the urologist came up to me after and said, ‘I found something on your testicle.’”

It wasn’t long before McIntyre went under the knife — after, of course, a “Good Bye Ball Party.”

“That was kind of how I got through it, with a sense of humour,” he said.

“I’m not a sit-around-and-cry kind of guy.”

While he’s never hitchhiked across Canada in boxers before, this is not McIntyre’s first time baring almost everything for a Stanfield’s stunt.

In 2010, he spend 25 days holed up inside a Toronto loft on webcam — also wearing nothing but underwear.

During that time, McIntyre interacted with 50,000 Canadians online in an effort to raise awareness about male cancers.

So, when Stanfield’s came calling again, he was quick to jump on board.

This time, McIntyre said, the journey will be interactive.

People can go online to keep up with the journey and vote on dares.

One possible day trip? A polar-bear swim in Saskatoon.

But, McIntyre said, he has to make it there first — and hitchhiking can be dangerous enough to people who are fully clothed, let alone someone nearly naked.

“We should be OK,” he said.

“I’ve got a camera guy with me and we also have a van following me around, so I’ll never be on my own.”

To follow McIntyre’s progress — including his brief stop in Kamloops slated for Friday, Nov. 16— go online here.

 

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