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The Prouty Sets Records

The second Saturday in July marks an annual fundraiser that transforms Hanover, NH, with a wide collection of outdoor activities to raise money for cancer treatment and research.

More than 5,800 cyclists, walkers, rowers, and golfers participated in The Prouty.

The 32nd Annual Prouty Bike, Walk, Row, and Golf against Cancer raised $2.6 million for cancer research and patient services at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center following two-days of activities July 12-13. Additional donations are still coming in which will add to the record-setting total.

Record number of participants and funds raised

More than 5,800 cyclists, walkers, rowers, and golfers signed up for The Prouty this year. Bicyclists rode distances of 200, 100, 77, 50, 35, or 20 miles. Walkers set out on wooded or residential routes between three and 20 kilometers. Out on the Connecticut River, Prouty rowers in sweeps and sculls cut gracefully through the water while the bicyclists rode along the riverbank and across bridges overhead. Organizers say golf attracted 140 new participants this year who played on the Hanover Country Club links adjacent to the event's day-of headquarters.

It was an event for people of all ages and abilities. Families, co-workers, Dartmouth sororities and fraternities, Dartmouth-Hitchcock doctors and nurses−literally thousands of people, many from far beyond New England−joined together to become The Prouty.

Yellow ribbons at the finish line honor those touched by cancer
Prouty ribbons

Ribbons at the finish line honor those touched by cancer.

Every participant had a reason for being there. Many chose to express their inspiration on bright yellow ribbons decorating the finish line: "For my brave husband," "Dad we love you always," and "Mom stay strong."

"Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer and it can make you feel helpless," said Jean Brown, event director. "The Prouty is a way you can challenge yourself physically and feel good about doing something about cancer."

Hanover's Richmond Middle School served as Prouty Central. As if the circus came to town, tents went up overnight. In the morning, food tents featured thousands of donated burritos, bagels, grinders, burgers, and pizza slices. Other tents offered live music, shaded tables, professional massage, first aid, and kids' activities. Iced beverages everywhere kept everyone hydrated in the 80-degree heat. A light breeze and cloud cover helped keep the thousands of volunteers, participants, and spectators comfortable.

NCCC researchers display posters on latest cancer research

The Discovery Tent gave participants an inside look at the latest scientific cancer research. Scientists field-tested equipment to measure radiation in people's teeth and fingernails, which act like 'radiation badges.'  This technology, called electronic paramagnetic resonance (EPR), developed by Dartmouth, is for rapid field deployment in the event of a nuclear disaster. The equipment makes fast, accurate assessments of radiation exposure to triage patients in a disaster. The Prouty serves as an ideal setting each year to field-test EPR.

Other scientists, whose research has been funded by The Prouty, displayed posters describing their research findings. Their studies identified a new combination of drugs for leukemia, that an over-the-counter nutritional supplement may help fight breast cancer, and that a common osteoporosis medication did not increase risk of esophageal cancer. From eight and 10 scientific studies are funded each year with monies raised by The Prouty.

"Over $1.2 million dollars in seed grant money supplied by the Prouty has generated $20 million in external support for our cancer research," said Brown. "The science is that good." The event also funds quality-of-life patient services such as massage, writing-for-healing workshops, support groups, and patient libraries.

 "There are as many reasons for doing The Prouty as there are participants. People who have lost a parent, had a child afflicted by cancer, or a neighbor be diagnosed are all here today," said Mark Israel, MD, director, Norris Cotton Cancer Center. "This is a way to stand up and be counted in the fight against cancer. It is life-changing."

July 15, 2013