HOLDEN, Maine — Priscilla "Pat" Rollins is an 84-year-old that has volunteered more than 1,200 hours at Sarah’s House in Holden, a temporary home for cancer patients and their caregivers that provides a "home away from home" environment to patients receiving treatment at the Cancer Care facility in Northern Light Health.
The Dempsey Challenge happens this Saturday, Sept. 28, and its main goal is to raise funds to help cancer patients at the Dempsey Center. Every year, it awards a cancer survivor who demonstrates a passion for helping others with cancer in Maine. The award is presented by Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer. The Amanda Dempsey Award is named in memory of Patrick Dempsey’s mother Amanda who herself fought cancer for more than 17 years.
Rollins was first diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2006. Six years later, the cancer had metastasized to her bones and grew from her skull to her tailbone.
Delores Landry is Rollins’ daughter and the executive director at Sarah’s House. She nominated her mom because of the volunteer work that she does at Sarah’s House.
"I am incredibly proud of my mother," Landry said. "She has been a role model my whole entire life. She has been strong and independent but kind and strong and generous. I am so incredibly proud of her."
Rollins uses her battle to motivate others with the disease. According to Karen Page, the Dempsey Center's cancer resource coordinator, Rollins was chosen by the committee to be the 11th award winner for her outstanding support to so many patients and their families.
"Her volunteer hours over the years while at the same time going through her own cancer treatments, it’s just really impressive," Page said.
At Sarah’s House Rollins spends her time helping with recycling, folding towels and bed sheets, or keeping on top of paper work.
Rollins will accept the award at the Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Even though pat is not looking for a whole lot of notoriety, she has won not only won this award but the hearts of everyone she’s with.
“She’s not quite sure she’s worthy of something like this, but she absolutely is, and everyone that knows her reiterates that,” Page said.
If you can’t make the Dempsey Challenge, Rollins leaves those battling cancer with some words of wisdom.
“Well, I think you got to concentrate on what you enjoy most and just pursue it and just keep doing what makes you happy,” Rollins said.
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