The Prouty: Always More than a Bike Ride

"One of the reasons I do the Prouty," says Alfred Griggs,"is that I find on my early spring training rides I have a chance to think about family and dear friends who've had cancer. This is what probably means the most to me, as it just gives me some time alone, getting ready for the Prouty, and thinking about why I do it."

Focus article photo

A Prouty 2010 Honorary Co-Chair, Al Griggs has been a frequent participant in the Prouty, riding in the 100 mile-event "at least four times, probably five." As chair of both the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Board of Trustees and the Assembly of Overseers, he understands the significant impact of the Prouty on Norris Cotton Cancer Center and the community. He notes, "When I see over 5,000 participants and volunteers coming together in support of a very, very worthy cause, I'm convinced that there isn't an event in our community that's more effective than the Prouty. In an almost emotional way, it makes me believe that together we can find a cure for cancer. But it takes courage—each one of us, whether patient or participant, doing whatever we can, in our own individual ways—to make that possible."

Photo: Honorary Co-Chairs for 2010, Susan Lynch and Al Griggs

Honorary Co-Chairs for 2010, Susan Lynch and Al Griggs

Susan Lynch, Prouty Co-chair with Al Griggs, is no stranger to the Prouty, either. She and her husband, Governor John Lynch, have biked in the Prouty since 2007, and Susan began her tenure as honorary co-chair in 2008. Susan is a pediatrician at the Cholesterol Treatment Center at New Hampshire's Concord Hospital, specializing in the problems of childhood obesity. She says, "The Prouty is truly a fantastic event. It's fun, there's lots of camaraderie, and it's all for a wonderful cause—to help our preeminent Cancer Center here in New Hampshire. I just can't imagine a better event—or a better cause."

But beyond this, Susan and her husband bike the Prouty, like many participants, for a personal reason: to honor a little girl who lived in their neighborhood, but who they met while she was being treated as a cancer patient at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

"She was a very brave little girl," explains Susan, "and very, very inspirational to my husband and me. She is in my thoughts often but particularly when I ride in the Prouty and go up Chieftain Hill. I think about how brave she was and about all that she went through with such courage to fight her disease—so I certainly can make it up that hill!"

Photo: Bike riders in the Prouty

The Prouty is like that—often personal and challenging—but always having a postive impact on Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Funds raised through the Prouty provide critical seed money to young investigators, support vital patient services, enhance technology and recruitment, and do so much more. Remarkably, in last year's difficult economic environment, the Prouty community came together to raise $2,071,000 in support of these priorities. This year the goal is $2.25 million, and Prouty 2010 is already on a roll.

So why do thousands of cyclists and walkers, hundreds of volunteers, and scores of corporate sponsors step up with such a sense of purpose to be part of the Prouty? Because in this community it's understood that the Prouty is more than just a bike ride.

March 31, 2010