LEWISTON, Maine — It was an emotional and exciting day in Lewiston on Saturday, as folks returned to Simard-Payne Park to participate in the 13th Dempsey Challenge.
"It's really important for us as an organization to be back and to be out and connecting with the community, and I think for the community as well you can see it. Everybody's masked up but you can see twinkle and light in their eyes, and it's remarkable, it's very special," said Dempsey Center founder Patrick Dempsey.
On Saturday, those taking the challenge took part in 5k and 10k run/walks to help raise money for the Dempsey Center.
The Dempsey Center provides quality of life care to those managing the impacts of cancer and their families at no cost.
So far on Saturday, those taking the challenge have raised more than $1.3 million for the Dempsey Center, with the ultimate goal of reaching $1.5 million.
"I love the Dempsey Center. I'm so grateful for them and everything they do," said Amanda Cohen. Cohen is a two-time cancer survivor and took the challenge alongside some of her closest friends.
The Dempsey Challenge is a special day for those impacted by cancer. That includes survivors, friends, and family of loved ones who have lost their battle with cancer.
"So it was only fitting that we have one team comprised of people from all across Central Maine Healthcare that involved in caring for cancer patients," said Steven Littleson, Central Maine Healthcare Interim President & CEO.
CMH had 125 employees taking part, the largest group to participate in the challenge. Littleson says he plans to work with the Dempsey Center to integrate their care into its new cancer treatment center.
The excitement continues on Sunday, as riders will take their bikes throughout the Lewiston area bicycle portion of the Dempsey Challenge.