In order to run the Upper Valley’s biggest fund raising event, you must enlist the aid of a wide array of individuals. Some of those are hard-working staffers, devoted to the cause year-round. Some are volunteers, who play a critical role at various times in the life of the event; some are the participants, whose work and prowess raise the money, and some are the ones that contribute to those participants. And some are the survivors of cancer, who motivate us to be involved, in one way or another.
One Quechee resident, who fulfills many of those roles, is Gail Seaver. “It means so much to me,” says Gail, when speaking of The Prouty. When hearing Gail’s story, it is easy to see why this annual fundraiser for cancer research, and cancer survivors, does mean so much.
Gail’s first encounter with The Prouty was as a participant back in 2007, when she biked with Team Quechee. Soon after, her son, and her husband John joined with her on the rides, raising money through their participation. Finding he wanted to do more to help the effort, Gail says John volunteered his services to fundraising for The Prouty, and ultimately became a member of The Prouty Board in 2011.
2011 was an important year for Gail as well; in September of that year, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
After having surgery for this rare cancer in Massachusetts, Gail received much of her follow-up care at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC). She found the care she received here to be “so comforting, and left me at ease,” adding that the caregivers at the NCCC are outstanding. It did not go unnoticed by Gail that a portion of her care, and therapy was a direct result of the money raised from the annual Prouty event; an event she, and her family so willingly supported before her illness.
Despite having cancer, Gail was committed to continue helping with the Prouty any way she could; “I never stopped participating,” she says, adding that volunteering to register participants proved a great way to help while dealing with her illness.
Eventually, cancer reappeared; though she was not a candidate for a second surgery, and chemotherapy did not prove effective, Gail persevered and looked for a new treatment plan. “I chose not to accept my fate,” she says.
Her new plan to deal with cancer includes a holistic approach, incorporating nutrition, exercise, and support classes offered through the NCCC, such as mindfulness, and Reiki. “I accepted the fact of going on a new plan,” Gail says. She still sees her oncologist at the NCCC as well.
Gail wants all to know that not only do Prouty funds support research, money raised through the event also funds the support classes and activities she, and other cancer survivors find critical in their recovery efforts. For her, and others, these support vehicles offer “positive results,” Gail says.
The Prouty does offer positive results for cancer patients and families throughout the region. Again this year, Gail Seaver and her family will participate, likely taking on one of the walking routes in the event, joined by over 3,000 others to make a difference in the lives of folks like Gail.