All Sections

Home | Scene in Manchester

Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Niece's diagnosis inspires melanoma research benefit

January 13. 2013 11:38PM

Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, may not get much attention here in New Hampshire, especially in the middle of winter. But, it will get a lot of attention at the Derryfield Restaurant this Saturday as it hosts its seventh annual Melanoma Cancer Research Benefit.

Derryfield's Director of Sales and Events Caroline Ciechon started the fundraiser with the help of many family and friends when her niece, Meghan O'Shaughnessy, was diagnosed with the disease. Now in remission, the 24-year-old plays a big part in the benefit's preparations. Other well-known locals - the Frietas and Griswold families - who have also been affected by the disease have joined the effort. And since in Manchester everybody seems to know everybody, I expect most of the city will be participating in this event one way or another.

While the disease is serious, this benefit will be fun. In addition to a full dinner, the $40 ticket provides entertainment by he band Nimbus 9, a raffle ticket to win a $200 case of wine, and participation in a silent and live auction. Organizers are also selling $20 prize squares for a three-night trip for two to the Harbor Marriott Fort Lauderdale Resort and Spa with airfare.

In the first year of the event, Ciechon said they didn't know how they were going to reach their goal of 250 people. Now the event has grown so large it has outgrown the Derryfield's function room and takes over the entire restaurant.

Through this event and its annual golf tournament, the Derryfield has raised about a quarter of a million dollars for the Melanoma/Skin Cancer Program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.

To purchase a dinner and/or raffle ticket, visit the Derryfield Restaurant on Mammoth Road or Billy's Sports Bar on Tarrytown Road.

A mightier McIntyre

It may be small, but we are fortunate to have our own ski area right here in Manchester. My oldest son is experiencing what I expect will be the first of many winter seasons at McIntyre Ski Area and I was pleased to see the "Mighty Mac" on Kennard Street is mightier than ever.

What I remember most from my days there is the smell of french fries and ketchup in the lodge and the hunt for cute boys on the slopes. I'm sure there was some skiing involved too, but I have never been much of an athlete.

I also recall, less fondly, the scary rope tow that always tripped me up, putting me at the bottom of a pile of people who fell on top of me.

The rope tow has been replaced by two easy "Magic Carpet" conveyor belts that carry little (and sometimes big) ones up the kiddie slope. But the familiar scent of fries and ketchup still lingers in the fancy new lodge and I'm still on the lookout for a cute boy on the slopes - only this time it's my son.

Since my oldest is a bit of a scaredy-cat like his mom, I thought his first lesson would end in tears after 15 minutes. But the ski school team, led by Jodi Fortier, has been amazing and had him pizza-slicing his way down the hill without assistance by his second lesson. And the staff at the rental office has made the daunting task of picking up our rental skis, boots and helmet quick and easy. Even when the place is packed, the associates I have encountered have been helpful and cheerful.

I have not skied regularly since junior high, and I still use the pizza-slice move myself. So I definitely will not be joining the new adult/corporate racing program called the Urban Race League. But if you are an adult skier who wants to enjoy the improved McIntyre experience, including a liquor license for Urban Race League nights and other events, contact Fortier at

If it's been a while since you have visited, check it out. You can learn about hours, rates and more at the recently revamped website

'The Year the Snow Didn't Melt'

When I first read Dr. William Kirmes' book "The Year the Snow Didn't Melt," I assumed it was about 2011, the year we had the October storm that postponed trick-or-treating. But although the book references a year when snow began falling before Halloween, Kirmes actually wrote the book a year before that crazy storm.

Is he Manchester's own Nostradamus? No, Kirmes is an osteopathic physician and grandfather who happens to take an interest in climate change. And you can meet him and hear him read his story this Wednesday evening at Highland-Goffe's Falls Elementary School at 6:30 p.m.

Highland-Goffe's Falls teacher Tracy Ouimette, who is helping to organize the reading, said children will also get chocolate milk and animal crackers at the event.

Kirmes, who has been practicing medicine for more than 30 years, said he got the idea for the book while shoveling snow off his roof one particularly frigid winter. He thought to himself, "My God, what if this doesn't end?" He also thought about the questions children must have about climate change.

As a father of two and grandfather to 8-year-old Evan Pouliot, Kirmes has read a lot of children's books and has never been very impressed with the selection. So he set out to write his own book that addresses global warming and what might happen if we don't address it. He said he's seen a huge change in the climate over his lifetime.

Now I appreciate our environment and think we should be aware of how we may be polluting our earth. But I am no environmentalist, and will never understand how a warming of the earth could cause more snow. Still, Kirmes' story was fun to read with my son as we talked about what it would be like if the Red Sox had to play in the snow (I mean, it could only improve their game, right?).

The process of publishing his own book was a lot more complicated than he expected, but Kirmes already has a second one - also on the theme of climate change - in the works. But, it's too early to say whether he's embarking on a new career.

"I've been a physician for 35 years and I've only been an author for two," he joked.

You can purchase an autographed copy of "The Year the Snow Didn't Melt" at Wednesday's event for $12.95. They are also available for sale at his 35 High St. office, at and www.barnesand The coolest option, however, is purchasing it through an app in the iTunes store that gives you the option of listening to an audio version as well as a virtual paintbrush to color the pages yourself.

NH365.ORG Event of the Week

I've never been able to stay awake through an entire "Lord of the Rings" movie, but maybe I could last through this week's performance of, "Lord of the Rings: A Very, Very, Very Short Journey." The UNH Manchester Brick and Mortar Theatre Group has condensed "The Hobbit" and all three "Lord of the Rings" stories into a 2½-hour parody (and that probably includes an intermission).

Tickets are only $3 for students, senior citizens and military and $5 for other adults. Tickets for children under 5 are free. All proceeds will benefit Liberty House, a home for veterans.

Shows will be held Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. in the 3rd Floor Auditorium at 400 Commercial St.

If you have an interesting item for Scene in Manchester, write to

Column Manchester

Newsletter Signup