ManchVegas 5K: A daughter’s love turns into volunteering for a cause

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Stand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.

Dad and me on prom night. Courtesy/Melissa Mannon

Norris Cotton Cancer Center is a world-renowned cancer treatment and research facility affiliated with The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Friends of the Center raise money, produce events, and facilitate community outreach in an effort to find a cure for cancer. This year, the friends are sponsoring their inaugural ManchVegas 5K on August 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the Manchester millyard. This fun-filled Vegas-themed road-race and after-party is attempting to raise $20,000 to assist patients with, among other things, transportation and art therapy, and to support the research and preventative measures of our world-renowned doctors, who, like you, call New Hampshire home. I am pleased to serve as race co-chair for a cause that is near and dear to my heart. I do it in honor of my father who passed away last year from complications related to liver and bile duct cancer.

Dad and I began running together when I was 11 years old. I dove into running with passion and my sports fanatic father was thrilled I found a new thing that we could love together. One of my best running memories with him was when I posted my first championship-worthy time in an 800-meter race. Whether or not I made the county championship meet depended on the times run by girls in another division. Dad looked at me and said, “Let’s go to their meet and watch.” As the girls ran around the track I felt nervous. Dad and I stood together and he held my hand tightly. We jumped up and down together until the race ended and I yelled, “I made it, I made it!” I burst into tears and Dad embraced me in a big bear hug. Dad came to most of my track and cross country meets. He took me to road races all throughout the off season. It did indeed turn into OUR passion. His enthusiasm for my success, and that of my little sister who eventually became a runner too, never wavered.

My dad, the umpire. Courtesy/Melissa Mannon

My father was a very passionate man. He was often the center of attention with a booming voice and strong opinions. Yet, he was also a very sensitive person, always concerned about the safety and happiness of the people he loved and supporting the causes in which he believed. When I was young, he was full of high energy. He ran all out on the ball field, even playing baseball once with a torn hamstring. He umpired and coached. He volunteered for his synagogue. He gave money to all the causes that touched him.

When Dad was diagnosed last spring, I reached out to Christine Pariseau-Telge of the Friends of Dartmouth Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer. She was looking for someone to start (on your mark, get so, go!) her 5K race to raise money for the Center. She wanted someone touched by the disease. I had been a breast cancer patient at Norris Cotton six years earlier. Their remarkable doctors, nurses and support staff had supported me through my own cancer treatment. I would be honored to begin a race to support them.

The Friends of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center asked me to join their board last year. I am pouring my energy into helping others have the same remarkable experience I had with my own cancer journey. I am following Dad’s example to support things that are meaningful to me with fervor, hope and love. Hope and encouragement – this is what the Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center, affiliated with Dartmouth-Hitchcock, provides for cancer patients. We all have the opportunity to make a dent in the fight against cancer by supporting the Friends’ efforts to raise money for patient supportive services and research. We have all been touched by cancer. We all can play a role in ending it. Please join us.

ManchVegas 5K Facebook

@37thProuty on Twitter

Friends of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Melissa Mannon is the librarian and the assistant cross country coach at Goffstown High School. She currently serves on the board of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center and is co-chair of the ManchVegas 5K.




About Carol Robidoux 6249 Articles
Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!