The Prouty is billed as the largest charity challenge north of the city of Boston, and anyone in the Upper Valley witnessing the event, and the participants and volunteers taking part during The Prouty weekend in July, would not doubt that statement. Well over 3,000 bicyclists, walkers, rowers, and golfers take part in order to raise money for research, and services, for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at DHMC. One reason the event is so popular is that 90% of money raised stays local, and funds the work done at DHMC.
One of those over 3,000 participants is Quechee’s own Jenny Gelfan. In 2008, Jenny participated in her first Prouty as a bicyclist. She rode with a team called the Spinners, and found the event so inspiring, she’s ridden every year since.
One tradition of The Prouty is that riders wear, or attach to their bikes, small yellow ribbons to honor those they know with cancer, or who’ve passed away after fighting cancer. Up until last year, Jenny wore those ribbons, too. “Last year, I stopped flying ribbons because the list of family and friends who did, or did not survive cancer was just too long,” she says.
One of the great benefits participants experience taking part in The Prouty is the camaraderie they feel. Whether it’s at one of the pre-Prouty events, the actual event participation, or the party held at the Richmond School in Hanover when completing the event, participants and volunteers feel a great sense of unity. Jenny finds sharing her pre-event rides, and the ride the day of the event with other cyclists a special experience. In addition, “I love all the support along the way – the people cheering us on, the Panhandlers (a band) music on Chieftain Hill, the smiles of people…all so positive,” she says.
All of the planning, the hard work of the participants and volunteers, and the strong unity among all, results in impressive results. Each of the last two years, The Prouty raised about $3 million for cancer research and support, with a similar goal targeted for this year. If you’ve never participated, or supported a Prouty participant, there is still time. The dates for this year’s Prouty are July 12 and 13.
As Jenny Gelfan says, “The efforts of one person added to the work of many others can really have an impact.”