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Inaugural Climb for Cure to benefit Gilford boy


September 15, 2010
The inaugural Climb for Cure, founded in the memory of Nicholas Palisi, who lost his life to brain cancer in 2005 at the age of 6, will be held at Gunstock Sept. 19.

Participants can walk, bike, hike, or climb up Gunstock Mountain at the pace they choose to support advancing childhood cancer treatment.

Nick Palisi's mother, Sharon Wells of Gilford, is a fitness instructor and Gunstock employee, and said she can never walk away from the fight for curing childhood cancer.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and a portion of the proceeds this year will also go to Bryce Hanover, a Gilford Middle School eighth grader recently diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic Leukemia, one of the many common forms of cancer found in children.

Wells said it is fitting that Hanover loves to stay active and mountain bike himself, and also used to play with her son.

"We are honoring Bryce at the climb because he is 'Brave Bryce' enduring his own personal climb and is ironically a big mountain climber," said Wells.

It will be a long climb and a long battle for Hanover and his family, but they are happy to receive continuing support from the community.

Bryce Hanover's mother Samantha Hanover said the support her family has received from the community, from her son's peers, and from GMS faculty members has been a wonderful and uplifting experience.

She said she expects many of Bryce's friends will be involved with the first annual Climb for Cure, just as they were during the St. Baldrick's Day fundraiser in June, which also benefits childhood cancer research. Dozens of his friends, peers, and teachers raised money to have their heads shaved to make sure he didn't feel as though he were alone in the fight.

"When we heard about the climb we were overwhelmed by the community's continual support. It's one thing after another," said Hanover, who just received a call that a GMS staff member plans to represent Bryce at a race in Pennsylvania this year.

She said her family will try to attend the Climb for Cure, just as they attended the St. Baldrick's Day event this year, although Hanover said her son is further into his three year chemotherapy treatment and it will depend on how he feels.

"He tolerates it well. He's OK and has an incredible attitude," said Hanover. "It will be a three and a half year process for the treatment, and then hopefully he will stay in remission."

The Hanover family plans to donate all of the proceeds they have received so far to CHAD, St. Children's Hospital at Dartmouth.

Hanover said last Thursday was also the first day of school for her son, who has a modified plan, which will allow him to continue on with treatment and keep up with his eighth grade class. Thanks to the internet, flexibility, and support from teachers, her son won't fall behind in school.

"The social aspect is very important for Bryce. When his peers, his teachers, and the nurse came to visit, it gave him a new attitude. It was a new therapy in itself and made him feel better," said Hanover.

Founder of the Climb for Cure, Wells said when Nick was going through treatment, the community rallied together, held fundraisers and cooked meals for the family. Wells said she believes it is her turn to "pay it forward."

Climb for Cure will take place at Gunstock on Sunday, Sept. 19, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will also include a pre-climb breakfast, awards, a live band, and "lots of love in the mountain air."

Prior Miss Teen New Hampshire and runner up for Miss New Hampshire, Megan Lyman, is a childhood cancer survivor and will also attend the event.

Donations will range from $25 to $50, which includes a t-shirt, breakfast, and a water bottle. Participants can climb as individuals, with their family, or part of a team, and can register at climbforcure.org or call 520-6160 for more information.

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