On Prouty day last year Dani Capsis Ligett woke early, put on her Prouty T shirt, filled her water bottle, and—as she has on every second Saturday in July since 2006—set out on a walk to raise funds to support the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Before heading out she stopped to send a tweet to her fellow TGIF teammates (who all were sleeping and would be sleeping for another seven hours) and then headed up a trail that led through the rugged terrain of Ikaria, a mountainous Greek island in the Aegean Sea.
When a special trip to celebrate her 60th birthday placed Dani in Greece on Prouty day, doing The Virtual Prouty allowed her to keep a commitment she first made years ago after a breast cancer diagnosis. “I’m committed to raising money for cancer research and to supporting patients and families,” she said. “The Prouty has been an important part of my life for years, and the Virtual Prouty allowed me to take this trip and not feel guilty about not being there with my team!”
To start their carefully-mapped-out 5K hike, Dani and her husband Mike followed a trail through the 500-year old vineyard where they were staying. They climbed through forested gorges and had explored an ancient monastery along the way before realizing that they had strayed from their planned route and were totally lost. There were no nearby villages and they did not speak much Greek, but they eventually found their way back 5 hours later with a great travel story to tell. And they raised $4,000 to support cancer research and patient care.
Spreading the word about what can be done to eradicate cancer
Dani says she has always enjoyed looking at the world map on The Prouty website, where participants can mark their location. But as she began to share her “lost adventure travel story” with others, the Prouty’s impact on raising cancer awareness took on a new dimension. The Ikarians, whose longevity has been studied and widely written about, were interested in healthy living and were especially engaged by Dani and Mike’s Virtual Prouty. And as the travelers made their way home and told others the story, it stimulated more conversations about health and about what can be done to eradicate cancer.
“On Ikaria it really sank in that people all around the country and the world –many on the same Saturday—were sharing the Prouty mission,” Dani said. “Sometimes sharing it with strangers who do not even speak the same language!”
You don’t have to travel to do a Virtual Prouty
For 32 years people have been gathering in Hanover, NH, on the second weekend in July for The Prouty, Northern New England's largest fundraising event. They row, cycle, or walk to raise money to support cancer research and patient care at NCCC. In 2012 the Virtual Prouty was added to include those unable to join in one of the organized events—whether for geographical or physical reasons.
"Virtual Prouty-ers" have walked the Great Wall of China, run in Australia, cycled in France, and mountain biked in California. But you don’t have to leave the country or even your house--you can support cancer research and patient services by making phone calls, writing letters or emails, or visiting with someone all while sitting in a comfortable chair.
About the Prouty
The Prouty began in 1982 when four nurses rode their bicycles 100 miles to honor an inspiring patient, Audrey Prouty. Those four nurses raised $4,000 to support Norris Cotton Cancer Center. By 2013, the combined 32-year fundraising totaled more than $20 million. This year, The Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation has challenged the Prouty community to raise $100,000 more than last year’s total ($2.78 million). When achieved, the Foundation will donate an additional $100,000.
The 33rd Annual Prouty will be held on July 11 and 12, 2014 in Hanover, New Hampshire. To learn more about The Virtual Prouty, or any of the other Prouty events, visit http://www.theprouty.org