WATERVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Students at Colby College will be running in the 5K during this weekend's Dempsey Challenge, but their motivation stems deeper than meeting Patrick.
The event raises money for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing in Lewiston.
The students are running for a classmate, Grace Dunn.
"For most of us she's always been our support system as a friend," said junior, Sarah Taft. "So now, for us, it's our turn to be her support system."
Dunn was diagnosed with adrenal cancer, which affects glands just above the kidneys. For her age, it's a very rare form, and Dunn is undergoing experimental treatments.
"Because she such an anomaly we have so much hope that she's going to be the miracle," said friend and roommate, Zoe Gibson.
Her friends started a Facebook group to generate a team for this year's challenge, and that group continues to grow as word spreads.
"People are struggling in different ways but I think this event that we're doing is one way we can come together and really support each other; support Grace through this diagnosis," said Caitlin Heaps, one of the organizers.
Dunn has also inserted some motivation into the group, posting: "I just ran 4 miles, so if you can't get up on a Saturday morning and do this then idk what to tell ya!"
Dunn's friends explained that each year of the Dempsey Challenge, there's a competition between Colby, Bates and Bowdoin; whoever shows the most support wins a photo with Patrick Dempsey.
"She really wants a picture of Patrick Dempsey so that's my personal motivation," Dunn's other roommate, Gemma Bready joked.
If you're interested in supporting the group, click here.