HANOVER, N.H. – Thousands of golfers, cyclists, rowers and walkers helped raise $2.6 million for cancer research at the annual Prouty cancer fundraiser in Hanover on Saturday, setting a record for the amount raised on the day of the event, organizers said.
Organizers expect more donations to come in the coming days. This year’s goal is to raise $2.7 million and top the $20 million mark during the event’s 32nd year.
More than 5,800 people signed up for this year’s event, which included bicycle rides ranging from 20-200 miles in length, rowing on the Connecticut River and seven walking and running routes of various lengths. Golf at the Hanover Country Club was added for the first time this year and registration filled up fast.
Participants must meet fundraising minimums of $150 per adult, $50 per child and $275 per family. Some participants are sponsored; others seek donations. The Prouty was started in 1982 by four nurses to honor a patient, Audrey Prouty, 55, who died that year of ovarian cancer. The nurses raised $4,000 in pledges by biking across the White Mountains.
Cyclists participating in the Prouty Ultimate — a two-day, 200- mile ride — set off from St. Anselm College in Manchester at 6 a.m. Friday and started their second 100-mile route the same time Saturday.
Two of the three surviving nurses who founded the Prouty in 1982 were participating this year. Cindy Spicer, now a nurse in Littleton, and Heather Klassen, a nurse overseas, planned to ride in the event. For Klassen, it will be her first Prouty in 30 years.
Another founder, Patty Carney, is a researcher at Oregon Health and Science University. Audrey Prouty inspired her to get her doctorate degree, she said.
“Everyone knows an Audrey Prouty,” Carney said. “Everyone knows someone whose battle with cancer makes you want to do something to honor them and to help in the fight against cancer.”