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Cancer ride raises millions - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Cancer ride raises millions

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HANOVER, N.H. - Thousands come out to raise millions of dollars for cancer research in the Upper Valley. The money not only benefits those who suffer from the disease but also families of cancer patients who organizers say need support as well.

Deb Steele found her life's passion after she had a health scare that took her by surprise. In her 30s, she found out she had breast cancer.

“The diagnosis came out of the blue, I was working, I had a lump in my breast and it turned out to be cancerous,” said cancer survivor Deb Steele.

She says, that during her time battling cancer, her family also suffered.

“There's a lot of anxiety, and stress in the family. People need something comfortable and distracting that helps them get through the treatments,” said Steele.

Steele and 55-hundred others came out Saturday in the Upper Valley for the 33rd annual Prouty. The event has raised over 20 million dollars over the years to fund cancer research and patient and family support programs. For event organizers, having a strong community behind it makes it all happen.

“Without the hundreds and hundreds of volunteers this event wouldn't happen. Without the money raised, this event wouldn't have the impact it has, the tents go up, the people help traffic, they help food,” said event director Jean Brown.

Some rode bikes completing a variety of distances.

“It is pretty amazing, I mean it is the biggest thing that happens in the Upper Valley all year long,” said Brian Nolan of Hartford, Vt.

Others walked and ran but all raised funds to help those battling the disease.

“A good reason to support all the people that have cancer, and have survived cancer,” said Stephanie Fullerton, Prouty participant.

“It's important to all of us. I mean, I don't know anyone that's not touched by cancer in some way,” said Anna Lewis of Barnard, Vt.

Like cancer survivor Deb Steele.

“I have been cancer free since then and you know, knock on wood, but I still get checkups every year. This is just my passion now,” said Steele.

Steele now works as a manager at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of the recipients of funds raised Saturday. The center provides services and classes to those who need help sometimes just as much as those battling the disease families of cancer patients.

The Prouty first began in 1982 when 4 nurses biked through the White Mountains to honor their friend Audrey Prouty who died of ovarian cancer. This year's event raised more than 2 point 5 million dollars.
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