Together But Apart: The 2020 Virtual Prouty
May 22, 2020 11:47AM
By Gabrielle Varela
The Prouty was started in 1982 when four Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) nurses committed to cycling 100 miles through the White Mountains of New Hampshire in honor of one of their patients, Audrey Prouty. Since then, the event has grown into one of the most successful major fundraising community events of the year attracting more than 4,000 participants, 1,100 volunteers and 150 corporate sponsors to help raise funds for NCCC. Over the years, The Prouty has raised $39 million to fund cancer research and patient supportive services.
Despite social distancing regulations that shut most major athletic events down, the directors of the race believe it is important now more than ever to “Prouty”. With these safety adjustments, it may remain the long-awaited and inspirational community event. Through an app called Strava, racers will connect tracking devices to the app that allows them to log their progress, see and comment on friends' progress and routes as well as cheer each other on!
So far, over $850,000 has been raised this year for the NCCC. That money continues to help fund leading cancer research in ways such as clinical research and program development for early diagnosis, cures and prevention; outreach programs and patient support services like transportation and grocery assistance, support groups, art therapy, yoga, mindfulness and thai chi classes that have now continued online.
While t-shirts and Prouty Gear are unavailable this year, other adjustments include larger giving percentages from major donors like the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation Match challenge, where the foundation will match the dollars raised and even double donations of over $1,000. The Byrne Foundation has also put together generous registration and sign-up awards.
New this year, are lower participation minimums for the Ultimate Newbies racer and for returning Ultimate racers.
On May 14th, during The Virtual Party Kick-Off held via zoom, an inspiring set of key speakers expressed their excitement and enthusiasm. On the panel was Patty Carney, PhD; Hope Damon, Prouty Honorary Co-Chair, dietician, nutritionist and cancer survivor; Dr. Ken Meehan, Prouty Honorary Co-Chair, speaking on the impact of Prouty donations on lab research and clinical care; and Dr. Steve Leach, the Director NCCC.
“The reason the Prouty works is because we all know someone like Audrey,” says Carney, joining from her home in Oregon to tell her emotional story of the first “Prouty” bike ride for Audrey in 1982 when she was 22. Carney, now also a cancer survivor, was one of the four nurses on the first ride. She led the Prouty effort for 25 years and finished her last Prouty in 2005.
Dr. Steve Leach, emphasized “why we Prouty” explaining how cancer research overlaps and can be repurposed to study and fight COVID; “We Prouty to support our patients, to support their families and to support our groundbreaking research. But we also Prouty as a way to sustain our community.
Registration to race is now closed but you can still show your support by donating or cheer your community members on by purchasing and displaying a Virtual Prouty lawn sign! You can follow along on their Facebook, Instagram, and website.
Photo via Prouty Facebook Page.