The Prouty, and Its Special Meaning For So Many

Written by Frank Orlowski

Each year, thousands of Upper Valley residents take part as participants, volunteers, and donors in The Prouty, the annual fundraising effort for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) at DHMC. This year, the 40th for the event, is no different, as preparations are well underway for another successful Prouty. Every year, The Prouty takes on a special meaning for most participants, who either have a family connection to cancer care, or they themselves have struggled with the disease. Those survivors who participate in the event add a special significance and inspiration for the rest of us participating.

Case in point, Lebanon’s Eric Janson. Long a participating cyclist in The Prouty, Eric’s life has been altered by the scourge he’s worked to eliminate by his efforts. Participating since the latter 1980s, Eric’s journey with The Prouty began as do so many others. “Initially, I rode in memory of my mom, family members, and friends who had died of cancer.”

His perspective changed several years later, as the disease hit even closer to home. “In 2010 I was diagnosed with stage 3B lung cancer and given a less than 10% chance of living five years.  I was treated at the NCCC where I received chemo and radiation for 13 weeks.  I read over 100 books about cancer and alternative and complementary mind/body treatments.”
That care he received, along with the knowledge gained and his hard work, paid off for Eric. “Eleven years later, I remain cancer-free.”

Now, as is true with hundreds of other Prouty participants and volunteers, Eric’s personal experience as a cancer survivor offers a renewed commitment to the effort. “I now ride with a renewed purpose – to raise money to support clinical trials and cancer patients in finding the treatment path most likely to work best for them.”

Prouty participants such as Eric spend much time and effort fundraising for The Prouty. It helps donors to know that the vast majority of funds raised stay right here in the Upper Valley, funding research and patient services at the NCCC. For a Prouty veteran such as Eric, he has developed a successful fundraising plan. “I fundraise on my Facebook page, by email and in-person to anyone that will listen.”

There are many activities Prouty participants take part in to raise donations, including walking, rowing and golfing. Eric participates in the traditional Prouty sport – cycling. “My participation has always been by bicycle,” he says.  “In the ‘80s, ‘90s and early 2000s, I would usually do the century ride (the 100 bike route) with a group of riders.  In the early 2000s, it was the CCBA Spinners. For the last ten years or so it has been with the Slalom Spinners, a group of riders that includes a number of skiers that I ski with at Whaleback and Killington.”

That camaraderie with other participants has long been an important feature for Prouty participants. “Riding 25, 50, 75, or 100 miles with a group (or alone) is a great way to have fun and a tangible way to demonstrate support for the NCCC.”

And after all, is said and done, that support is what defines The Prouty, says Eric. “I am passionate about The Prouty, cancer prevention and cancer treatment.  The NCCC is a tremendous resource that is right in our backyards.  It deserves our support and our respect.”


June 1, 2021