prouty 2(Lebanon, NH 07/09/16) With a rainbow greeting early starters and showers throughout the day, more than 4500 participants and some 1200 volunteers welcomed a cool day in Hanover to raise more than $3 million for cancer care and research in the Prouty, Northern New England’s largest charity fundraiser.

People from all over the country come together every July to raise funds through a wide range of activities for people whose interests run from golf to cycling 100 miles for two days in a row. Participants pitch in by walking or cycling through neighborhoods and roads in New Hampshire and Vermont, rowing on the Connecticut River, or hitting the links at the Hanover Country Club. It all supports Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer’s innovative research and ways to ease the journey of cancer patients and their families with such efforts as support groups, art and writing programs, a comfort cart, a resource library and gas cards.

After finishing their events, participants returned to Hanover’s Richmond Middle School to join the all-day Prouty party. They passed through a huge balloon-covered arch at the finish line to enter a field where thousands of people swarmed the food tent, waited patiently for massages, and checked out cancer research breakthroughs at the Discovery Tent. Hungry participants and volunteers lined tables filled with 4,000 burrito bowls and wraps, 1300 hot dogs, 1000 burgers, 400 pizzas, 3000 cookies, freshly cut fruit, and other assorted rewards for their hard work. Other tents offered live music, shaded seating, team gathering places, and kids’ activities.

Among the scores of companies donating food for participants, one is led by an entrepreneur who only recently made it public that she was dealing with cancer while leading her company through rapid growth. Cathy Bacon of Freedom Foods in Randolph, Vermont, donated energy drinks, granola bars, protein bars, cookies, bark bites, condiments and sunflower-seed butter—some of the foods specially formulated for The Prouty. Bacon was overseeing construction of a state-of-the-art food production and co-packaging facility in Randolph in late 2012 and early 2013 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She kept the diagnosis secret then, plowing ahead with expansion of the company she owns while getting surgery and chemotherapy at Norris Cotton.

Displays in the Discovery Tent highlighted the scientific research and care that has been supported by Prouty funds. Here researchers and clinicians explained the services offered to patients at Norris Cotton, offered advice on how to help prevent cancer, and—in the “Cancer Answer Tent”–gave short answers to hard cancer questions.

“Even a rainy day doesn’t keep our amazing Prouty family from showing up and blowing us away with their generosity every year,” said Jean Brown, event director and executive director of the Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center. “When we see the energy and the joy that our participants put into this event, it fuels us throughout the year to make sure that their hard work translates into progress against cancer and a bit more ease in the life of every person with cancer.”

The 2017 Prouty is slated for July 7-8.