July 14, 2019


Rowing team of cancer survivors launches at record-breaking Prouty fundraiser (SARAH EARLE, 7/13/19, Valley News)

The survivors' team rowed about a mile of the 15-mile course, and the team's inaugural row was a small but poignant part of the event, which brought more than 200 rowers to Kendal Riverfront Park. In total, more than 4,400 people came out for the rowing, walking, biking and golf at the 38th annual Prouty fundraiser, which was created in honor of Audrey Prouty by four nurses who treated her during her nine-year battle with ovarian cancer. [...]

Using a boat on loan from the Upper Valley Rowing Foundation, the team had just a few weeks to learn the sport.

"Learning to row is a challenge. There's a lot of nuances," Wallace said. "It was a good experience, though."

This was a banner year for the Prouty, as organizers said the event raised more than $3.3 million for patient support services and cancer research at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. That's the most money ever raised by event day and just a few thousand dollars shy of the Prouty's previous record, said Jean Brown, executive director of the Friends of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Because more money always trickles in after the race, she's certain this year will break past records.

"This has been a really exciting year," Brown said. "There's a really good feeling in the community about the cancer center."

Appreciation for the cancer center was a key motivation for Donna Palatucci, Sue Goulet and Hatsy McGraw as they walked the 7K at the Prouty on Saturday. The three friends have been walking together every year since 2005, the same year that Palatucci was diagnosed with cancer.

Palatucci, who lives in Windsor, recalled the massages she received at the cancer center, and the musicians who came in and played the harp while she was waiting for treatment. She knows how much those little things can mean.

"We also have a good friend who is in treatment right now," said McGraw, who met Palatucci and Goulet while she was living in Windsor and now lives in Hartland.

All three of the women, who joke that they are the "Prouty cover girls" because their photo was once on the front of a Prouty publication, have lost friends and family members to cancer. They have walked through drenching rains and heat waves alike, and they even recalled having to wait out a thunderstorm in the Frances Richmond Middle School gym. They've also witnessed the growth of the event, which was started in 1982 after Audrey Prouty's death and is now the biggest charity challenge north of Boston.

"This is really important to us every year. We really try not to miss," McGraw said.

Posted by at July 14, 2019 6:59 AM