Thousands Raise Millions at Prouty
Steve Smolenski of Windham, N.H., left, and Frank Hubbard of Millis, Mass. share a laugh after they crossed the finish line at the 33rd annual Prouty in Hanover, N.H. on July 12, 2014. Participants bike, walk, row, golf or participate virtually to raise money for the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. (Valley News - Ariana van den Akker) Purchase photo reprints »
Alta Oswald, 7, of Winchester, Mass. surveys the scene after crossing the finish line on a tandem bike with her mother Heather Eliassen during the 33rd annual Prouty in Hanover, N.H. on July 12, 2014. Participants bike, walk, row, golf or participate virtually to raise money for the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. (Valley News - Ariana van den Akker) Purchase photo reprints »
Dartmouth College Gospel Choir director Walt Cunningham leads a performance of the new Prouty Anthem that he wrote called "I Am More," during the 33rd annual Prouty in Hanover, N.H. on July 12, 2014. Participants bike, walk, row, golf or participate virtually to raise money for the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. (Valley News - Ariana van den Akker) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon Crew coach Rowan Carroll drives the boat as Sydney Bish, 14, a coxswain for Lebanon Crew, encourages teammates who were nearing the end of a 20-mile row during the 33rd annual Prouty in Hanover, N.H. on July 12, 2014. Participants bike, walk, row, golf or participate virtually to raise money for the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. (Valley News - Ariana van den Akker) Purchase photo reprints »
From left: Peter Kermond of Hanover, N.H., John Tunnicliffe of Norwich, Vt., Russ Cone of Boston, Jen Friend of Orford, N.H., and Carin Reynolds of Lebanon relax on the dock after rowing in the 33rd annual Prouty in Hanover, N.H. on July 12, 2014. The friends know each other from racing together and say they have a couple hundred years of rowing experience between them. (Valley News - Ariana van den Akker) Purchase photo reprints »
David Frechette, 7, of Etna, rests on the grass as his brother got his face-painted during the 33rd annual Prouty in Hanover, N.H. on July 12, 2014. David and his two brothers joined their father for the last few miles of his 100-mile ride. (Valley News - Ariana van den Akker) Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanon — Seven years ago, four “good buddies” cycled 100 miles for the Prouty as part of an unofficial Cardigan Mountain School team. Since then, the group has grown to about 100 students, faculty and friends — and now they are rallying around one of their own.
Andy Noel was one of the original Cardigan Mountain foursome who rode the Prouty for the first time in 2007, but this year he sat under a large white tent with his family while others rode in his honor.
Noel, a former hockey coach and English and math teacher at Cardigan Mountain School, learned he had a rare form of appendiceal cancer in 2010.
Noel now lives in Wallingford, Conn., with his family and is the director of financial aid for Choate. And while he hasn’t taught at Cardigan Mountain School since 1997, he’s stayed in touch with faculty and students and one of his sons now attends the school.
“It’s a challenge because I’d like to be riding. But to know so many people are rallying for me is …” he paused to collect himself before saying, “pretty special.”
The 33rd annual Prouty raised more than $2.6 million as of Saturday afternoon, money that pays for cancer patient services and cancer research at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center.
The Prouty set a fundraising goal of $3 million this year, and donations are expected to continue to come in during the next several weeks.
Last year, the Prouty raised about $2.78 million. If this year’s event raises $100,000 more than last year, the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation has agreed to match that with another $100,000 — which would put the total raised at $2.98 million.
“It was like, ‘Oh, OK, let’s make $3 million the goal,’ ” said Jean Brown, executive director of Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center. “It’s a lot of money no matter what. I don’t want anyone to feel disappointed (if we don’t make the goal). Really, it makes a huge difference.”
Nearly 6,000 people participated in this year’s event, which has raised more than $20 million since the event’s inception in 1982, when four nurses raised $4,000. Many of Saturday’s walkers, runners, bikers, rowers and golfers had tags pinned to their backs that identified them as “survivors.” And every participant seemed to know someone who has been affected by cancer.
At the intersection of Park Street and East Wheelock Street, Connie and George Furlone, of Keene, N.H., took a short break at a snack station. The two have participated in the Prouty for 20 years. This year they were joined by a friend from Keene, but in past years their whole family has participated.
When George Furlone was asked why he was walking in the Prouty, he pointed to a young woman with a blond ponytail and said, “My reason is that girl over there.”
Emma Furlone’s leukemia was diagnosed when she was 2 years old. She received treatment at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and the disease has been in remission for 16 years. Furlone, now 21, recently graduated from Saint Anselm College in Manchester and plans to become a nurse. She has been hired at DHMC and starts July 21.
“She has been full circle,” said her grandfather.
Emma Furlone has stayed in touch with the nurses who treated her. Her nurse practitioner is her sister’s godmother, and she connects with other nurses through Facebook.
“The nurses at Dartmouth are amazing people,” she said. “I aspire to be like that someday, to impact someone so much that they want to go into that field.”
Catherine Craig passed through the same snack station wearing a white T-shirt with the words “Currently kicking my butt because my dad kicked cancer’s.” Between the words was a picture of the 17-year-old and her father, Gordon Craig, with a silly grin on his face.
The Craigs are part of a group from Sanbornton, N.H., called Hope in Motion. The group is made up of about 30 people, and among them three have battled cancer. Catherine Craig’s father, who was riding 15 miles on a bike on Saturday, has since beat his cancer.
The fields next to Richmond Middle School were transformed on Saturday into the finish line and resting area for all walkers, runners and bikers. In the early afternoon, Cindy Gubb stood by the finish line waiting for her husband, Larry, to finish. On her back was a “survivor” tag with the words “I ride for Bruce H. Love ya,” written in black marker.
Gubb, of Londonderry, Vt., had her cancer diagnosed in the fall of 2007 and received all her treatment at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center.
“My husband and I felt it was important to come out and ride and celebrate being whole again, or whatever your new normal is,” Gubb said.
This year she was riding for her brother, Bruce, whose prostate cancer was recently diagnosed.
“Cardigan’s Noel Strong” team, which was supporting Andy Noel, had raised nearly $34,000 as of Saturday afternoon, making it the largest fundraising team for a group of 50 to 99 people, according to race officials.
After teammates finished their race, they made their way to the white tent where Noel and his family were sitting. Among the people greeting Noel was Carl Lovejoy, one of the original four who started the Cardigan team seven years ago.
Noel coached Lovejoy’s son, Ben, in hockey while at Cardigan Mountain School, and Ben now plays in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks.
Lovejoy commented on the irony of how one of the original four teammates — and probably the healthiest of the group — is now a focus of the team’s support.
“I don’t think anyone in our group has met a more positive person than Andy Noel,” Lovejoy said. “If a positive attitude is a part of the formula to beating cancer, Andy will beat it.”
Sarah Brubeck can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3223.