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Dempsey Challenge going virtual due to coronavirus, COVID-19

Actor and Mainer Patrick Dempsey's annual Dempsey Challenge will be virtually on September 26 and 27.

MAINE, USA — The above video is from 2019. 

The 12th annual Dempsey Challenge will be a virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dempsey confirmed to NEWS CENTER Maine's Lee Nelson Friday.

As a result, those planning on being a part of the run, walk,  and cycle event will not have to travel to Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston as previously planned. Instead, people from all over the world can participate. 

Dempsey Challenge 2020 is scheduled to take place on September 26 and 27 using "world-class" fitness platforms Strava and Swift.

In a video message to supporters on Monday, Dempsey shared the new plans for the 2020 Dempsey Challenge.

"We can't wait to see you participate virtually in this year's Dempsey Challenge in the run, the walk, and the ride. So no matter where you are in the world, you can join us," Dempsey said. 

Using the fitness apps, Dempsey Challenge participants will be able to log the miles they walk, run, or cycle while raising money to support the work of the Dempsey Center. Teams and individuals can “unlock” prizes and incentives based on the miles logged and the amount raised. The fundraising minimum has been waived for this year’s event in favor of a suggested voluntary donation of $20.

“We know that what makes the Dempsey Challenge so special is the feeling of community,” Deneka Deletetsky, the Dempsey Challenge event manager said. “We are excited to create that community through online engagement. It’s a way to keep everyone safe while raising money for the important work of the Dempsey Center.”

NEWS CENTER Maine is a proud sponsor of the weekend-long fundraising experience in Lewiston, organized to raise money to help those impacted by cancer. Every dollar goes directly to the Dempsey Center.

The nonprofit provides free quality of life care to anyone impacted by cancer. Founded in Lewiston by actor Patrick Dempsey, it delivers a personalized, holistic and integrated approach to cancer prevention, education, and support.

Amid the pandemic, the Dempsey Center has launched most of its services virtually. Counseling appointments, support groups, and nutrition and fitness classes are being provided to cancer patients and their families.

“Providing virtual services has always been part of our strategic plan,” Wendy Tardif, Dempsey Center Executive Director said. “COVID-19 has forced us to speed up the timeline on that plan – and that’s a really good thing!” Noting that the organization plans to continue providing virtual services even after reopening to in-person visits, Tardif added, “The online sphere has truly become a third Dempsey Center location.”

While event organizers haven’t ruled out the possibility of in-person activities the weekend of the Dempsey Challenge, they are keeping a close watch on public health guidelines. Any local activities will follow appropriate health safety guidelines in effect at the time of the event.

In the meantime, Dempsey encourages people to get involved in the “reimagined” event.

Dempsey founded the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Healing and Hope in 2008, inspired by his mother Amanda, who was treated at Central Maine Medical Center for cancer several times. Amanda passed away in 2014 at age 79.

For more information about Dempsey Challenge 2020, visit DempseyChallenge.org.

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