2012 Dempsey Challenge: A Spectator’s Story

I couldn’t be prouder of my husband and his dad Tom that rode in this past weekend’s 4th Annual Dempsey Challenge.

The event was created by actor, and Maine native, Patrick Dempsey (who by the way is sooo dreamy) to raise money for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, which offers free services to people affected by cancer.  I found out that this is the same hospital where Patrick was born and where his mother was treated for ovarian cancer.

Patrick Dempsey with his mom and his two sisters

“I learned a lot during my mother’s illness,” Dempsey said in an interview. “I found out how important it is to have access to good, reliable resources to help the patient, family members and caretakers. After this experience, I knew that I wanted to make a difference, to give back to the community that helped my mom through her cancer journey.”

Patrick and his sister

It was also a great  year for the Dempsey Challenge, with a record 4,294 registrants and over $1.1 million raised. This year Dempsey Challenge also featured 38 cyclists who rode from Canada as part of The Peloton Project, a documentary film that follows the lives of riders participating in the Cancervive Peloton Project. The group started Oct. 2 and biked 2,500 miles from Calgary, arriving Friday in Lewiston in time to participate in the Dempsey Challenge weekend. Dempsey is the executive producer of the documentary.

2012 Dempsey Challenge

The most emotional moment was the Saturday’s event, when with Tom we did the Survivors’ Walk. It began at 10 a.m., near the Trestle Bridge and ended in front of the stage near the center of the park.

Patrick about to send off the Survivor’sWalk

This procession was led by a marching band and Patrick Dempsey. We walked behind them together with about few hundreds people, cancer survivors and their families.

Tom ready to walk

It was short but pretty intense, it was great to see on both side of the pathway, supporters and volunteers clapping, cheering, ringing bells and offering congratulations. At the end of the walk, we all gathered in front of the stage where Dempsey gave a speech.

Dr. McDreamy

Clapping at the Dempseys

On Sunday it was cold and rainy but Dustin and Tom woke up super early and went off to conquer their 50 mile ride anyway! I know Dustin was really looking forward to do this very meaningful ride with his dad, to whom he is so close to. The two of them have definitely a special bond that has a lot to due to the fact that for the longest time it was just the two of them. Dustin’s fondest memories growing up are when he lived with his dad. The moment that shrink my heart whenever I think about it, is when Dustin left to go to College and here they were bawling their eyes out. Hmmm do you think I know where my hubby got his sensitive side from? Ha!

Dustin & Tom bikes in love

As Dustin said: “The best part of this challenge is that I get to spend 50 miles in the road with my Dad and raise money for the Dempsey Center which is for Cancer hope and healing. I’m not only doing this to be with him but also to raise money for the unfortunate disease that he is bravely fighting every day with a smile on his face, and that smile is no bigger than when he is looking back at me from his bike.”

Here they come

Tom send out an email last night to thank everyone that helped him raise money for this cause. He said:

My son Dustin and I put our bikes in my truck and  set out yesterday morning from our ski camp in Newry at 5:30 for the one hour ride to Lewiston. Dark, cold and raining, the weather conditions weren’t exactly the type to inspire overwhelming enthusiasm, (in fact I think there was probably just a little bit of unspoken anxiety between the two of us). Our fifty mile ride started at 7:45 with a temperature of 42 degrees and moderate rain. We were rather quickly soaked and cold, but after a brief rest stop at mile 11, we began to regain our enthusiasm.

Laura and Natascia met us at an intersection at mile 33 and we were able to put our feet and hands on the car heater vents, wring out our socks and bask in the encouraging words of our thoughtful, supportive spouses.  After 10 or 15 minutes, we were back on the road with warm hands and feet, a renewed spirit and a soaring sense of pride. This carried us through for the remainder of the ride and I can honestly say that we used up about everything we had to give to make it the 53 miles.

The endorsement that you offered to me and to the Center with your donations helped to fuel our spirits along the way also. I am very grateful to all of you for your rich support. This is, to me, the most important fundraising ride I have ever participated in and hope to make it an annual event.

Few photos that describe the day. While Laura and I were waiting for our boys we saw in the distance Patrick coming.

Patrick and his crew

He smiled and waved at us=)

Here he comes

Finally in the distance we spotted Dustin and Tom.

Dustin & Tom at mile 28

They were cold and wet. Their feet was so frozen that they tried to warm them up with the hit of the car. And off they were to tackle 25 more miles!

Off they go!

They didn’t stop and finished strong! We were so proud of them!

Crossing the Finish

54 Miles later our boys were hungry but happy!

Dustin at the finish

Tom at the Finish

Always need for a hug

Father and Son

At the end there were offering a full Maine Lobster meal with ice cream and beer for all the bikers!

Well deserved Reward

Let’s cheer on a great accomplishment!


Needless to say that next year I definitely want to be part of this event and raise money for this incredible cause. I love Dustin’s idea of creating a “Tom Team” (we will come up with a cooler name) and create T-shirts for the team!

Tom’s survivor Medal


4 thoughts on “2012 Dempsey Challenge: A Spectator’s Story

  1. Is there anything sweeter than admiration from somebody I admire? Thanks for you love and inspiration mia bella figlia in diritto

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