Harry Proudfoot is no stranger to cancer. When he was just a teenager, he lost his uncle to spinal cancer. In 2010 he lost his wife, Jane to NET cancer. Five years later, his family lost her dad, his father-in-law, to prostate cancer. John, a dear friend of theirs was taken by a glioblastoma the year after that. Harry was there, holding all of their hands at the end.

He has supported several friends in their battles and watched as they struggled to endure the profound physical and emotional pain that the disease brings. Harry stood alongside his sister and sister-in-law as they fought and won their battles with breast cancer and survived thanks to life-saving breakthroughs in diagnosing and treating breast cancer.

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These breakthroughs were made possible by research that is not funded by the government but by private donations.

Harry's wife, Jane, was a well-known teacher at Westport High School who lost her life to neuroendocrine cancer (NET) on December 10, 2010. She taught there for 30 years and was incredibly passionate about her job...Jane was only 56 when she passed away.

Facebook.com/Walking With Jane
Facebook.com/Walking With Jane

When I asked Harry about how he gets in shape for his cancer walk, he said that it's been a tough year. Between the smoke from the wildfires, the heat, humidity, and the endless rain, his training schedule has taken a lot of hits

"Ideally, I like to walk or get on the bike every day, alternating back and forth," Proudfoot said, "By this point, I like to be doing 10-15 mile walks twice a week. This year, in a good week, I'm getting 10-15 miles a week total, when I'm lucky. Building up my feet for the strain of either the 13.1 or 26.2-mile routes is the biggest issue."

Regardless, Proudfoot feels like he is in great shape and is strongly committed to seeing this through.

Though NET cancer is largely unheard of, it is the second most prevalent form of gastrointestinal cancer in the US. A portion of Harry's funding has gone towards research for new treatments for NET cancer.

"When I encounter human suffering, I have to do something to ease it. And I've seen too closely what NET cancer patients go through not to be moved to act. It's what kept me going as a teacher. It's what keeps me going on so many fronts now. We can either whine about the things we face or we can act to change them. I try to act rather than whine. With NET, the action is easier to maintain than with other things because I can see the positive changes that are happening there every year."

This is why Harry walks. To honor the loved ones who he has lost to cancer and those who survived their battle. Harry walks to contribute to the funding of research that produces better diagnostics and treatment. Notably, research that his team has funded led to a new blood test that detects cancer in the stage of infancy, a time when it is much easier to treat and cure. As of right now, this test is being considered by at least one insurance company to be included in every annual physical.

He's currently over $3,200—and unofficially close to $5,000 with the matching money added in. Still, a long way to go, but making progress. This year, donations up to $7,500 total will get matched.

If anyone wants to go a step beyond donating, Proudfoot has invited anyone to join his team and walk with them.

"We walk for those who can't—until they can".

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