Published on June 1st, 2011 | by Leslie Wright
Cranking for a Cause
Beautiful Scenery, Challenging Terrain, and Topnotch Race Organization Make It Easy to Support Your Favorite Charity by Cycling
The granddaddy of charity events in the region, the Prouty, turns 30 this year. Colossal in both headcount and dollars raised, the Prouty, on July 9, is the chief fundraising event for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.
Dave Bradley has ridden in all but six Proutys. The 75-year-old from Hanover, N.H., was cajoled into his first century ride by his law firm partners. At the time, he recalls, he hadn’t ridden more than 5 or 6 miles at a stretch. Twenty-four Proutys later, he still cranks out the entire 100 miles, which is almost as impressive as the $300,000 he’s raised over the years.
“My friends, and sometimes my wife, worry I’m too old for this sort of thing. I figure it keeps me young,” Bradley says.
The Prouty offers a menu of participation options, including the century ride, shorter rides, walking options, and new this year, rowing. Organizers expect more than 4,600 participants, of which 3,200 are cyclists. Last year the event raised over $2.3 million, and this year’s goal is $2.5 million.
Money raised is earmarked for grants that support research in its nascent stages. Data established with early studies is crucial to landing larger federal grants, explains Jean Brown, executive director of Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center. From 2004 through 2008, the organization awarded $950,000 in seed grants that returned $13 million in federal grants to the cancer center. The money also supports programs for patients that are not typically covered by insurance, such as massage therapy and writing therapy.
Four years ago, a two-day double century ride, the Prouty Ultimate, was added to the mix. Riders start with a point-to-point from Manchester, N.H. to Hanover, N.H., staying over in Dartmouth College dorms and riding in the Prouty the next day. The event is capped at 150 riders and registration closes on June 30. The minimum to enter the Ultimate is $2,500, but if two people enter as a pair—“Ulti-mates”—the minimum is $1,750 per person.