For Prouty Participants, Giving Is the Goal

Each year, thousands of Upper Valley residents take part as participants, volunteers, and donors, in The Prouty, the annual fund raising effort for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) at DHMC. This year, the 41st for the event held on July 8 and 9, is no different, as preparations are well underway for another successful Prouty.

Literally thousands of participants take part in the cycling, walking, rowing, golfing and other activities that make up each Prouty event. And each of these participants raise money from friends and family for participating, with the funds raised going towards research, and services for patients at the NCCC. As so many Prouty participants are veterans of multiple years, their efforts must truly be rewarding.

Lebanon resident Ann Greenwald is a great example of a Prouty veteran who finds the event a valued experience. “My husband and I moved to the Upper Valley in 2000 with two little boys and a black dog,” Greenwald explains.

“Rick was busy starting his company, Simbex, and I took jobs at the CCBA as the Aerobics Coordinator and swim team coach. As I integrated into the UV community I began to hear about this big biking event each summer to support the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth. I was especially attracted to the Prouty for the way it started with a group of dedicated nurses who were so inspired by how their patient, Audrey Prouty, handled her fight against cancer that they created a bike ride event where a community could come together to raise money to support research in the areas of cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

As a participant, Ann Greenwald has incorporated many activities into her annual Prouty adventure, including swimming, walking, and cycling. For cycling, she’s done the 25-mile course, the 50 mile course, and the Ultimate, which is a hundred mile ride on two consecutive days, starting in southern NH; the most rigorous of all the Prouty events. These various physical tests result in participants discovering much about themselves, and their desire to help others.

“Every year presents a new learning experience that never fails to increase not only my inner resilience and strength but also my compassion and empathy towards others,” says Greenwald. “Pouring rain, blazing heat, snow flurries, bumpy asphalt, blistered feet, aching back and shoulders… my brain continually asking my non-bike friendly body, ‘Why am I doing this?’ Thank goodness for the SAG stops (the rest stops found along each bike route)! Talking with others, refueling, and noticing the deep connection and sense of purpose for helping and inspiring others is palpable.”

When participating in one of those challenging Prouty events, such as the two day Ultimate ride, or the 100 mile ride on Prouty Saturday, those SAG stop volunteers and the community members cheering on the riders make a world of difference, says Greenwald.

“The young campers working at the Mt. Cube SAG stop (in Orford) are wonderful as they cheer and sing camp songs while handing out PB & J sandwiches. You can’t help but smile. The cold wash cloths at the River Road SAG stop on a blistering hot day saved me numerous times. The steel drummers and encouraging signs carry us all up the last biking hill towards the Richmond Middle School finish line. But my absolute favorite cheering section are the Kendal Residents sitting by their sign at the top of that last hill that reads, ‘You’re over the hill and so are we!’”

After two years of The Prouty being a virtual (and primarily a virtual) event, the 2022 Prouty is back to a July weekend happening. Ann Greenwald says the virtual Prouty proved quite successful in its own right.

“The virtual Prouty was actually great because people could do any event from any where in the world. Simply by holding up the Virtual Prouty banner and sharing their pictures, we could all share in their accomplishments and feel inspired to do the same.”

Virtual, or live on a July weekend, The Prouty is special in its meaning and results. “Cancer touches everyone, including the most important people in our lives,” says Ann. “The phrase, ‘It takes a village to help those afflicted with cancer,’ really rings true for everyone, especially here in the Upper Valley. That’s why I joined The Prouty. The ‘village’ or community engagement around The Prouty event and around supporting not only the patient but their caregivers too, is truly amazing to experience and incredibly important to me.”