The fourth annual Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen attracted 4,294 participants from 33 states and six countries, breaking the previous record of 4,177 set in 2010. The two-day event in Lewiston raised over $1.1 million to benefit the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing, which provides free support, education and integrative medicine services to anyone impacted by cancer.
The event featured the Electricity Maine 5K and 10K run/walk on Oct. 13 and Exergy Development Group cycling rides of 100, 70, 50, 25 and 10 miles on Oct. 14.
Actor and Maine native Patrick Dempsey participated in the 50-mile cycling ride with professional cyclists Tom Danielson, Ted King, Freddie Rodriguez, Kristin McGrath, Ally Stacher, Alison Tetrick and paralympian gold medalist Matt Updike.
In response to his mother’s multiple battles with ovarian cancer, Dempsey founded the center, which opened in March, 2008. The Dempsey Challenge serves as the primary fundraiser to ensure services can be provided at no cost. It was the third straight year fundraising exceeded $1 million.
“It’s so great coming home. Look what this community can do,” said Dempsey during the closing ceremony. “There’s nothing that can stop us if we put our minds to it. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Andre Gosselin of Switzerland took top individual fundraising honors with $13,000, and Team Angela, comprised of 134 members, was the top fundraising team with $39,000.
“We are so grateful for the support of this community, and all of our wonderful participants and donors from around the world,” said event manager Aimee Arsenault. “The fact that we are able to continue to grow and break records in our fourth year, and in this economy, just shows how important this cause is to so many people. And as long as they’re willing to participate in the Dempsey Challenge, we’ll be here to make sure cancer patients and their families get the free support services they need.”
Along with the run/walk and cycling events, the Dempsey Challenge also featured the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Survivor Walk led by Dempsey, his mother, Amanda and Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Survivor Award winner Kristen Short of Norway, Maine.
Over 150 youngsters took part in the Auburn Firefighters Local 797 Kids’ Fun Run.
The event also played host to a family friendly Festival in the Park including the Concentra Health and Wellness Expo, TD Bank Positive Tracks KidZone, vendor fair and live entertainment.
The 2013 Dempsey Challenge is scheduled for Oct. 12-13. Registration is open at www.dempseychallenge.org.