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Dempsey Challenge kicks off today!

People can participate in person or virtually in the 13th annual Dempsey Challenge on Saturday, September 25 and Sunday, September 26.
Credit: NCM

LEWISTON, Maine — The Dempsey Challenge 2021 will reach people beyond Maine's borders. The Dempsey Center and founder Patrick Dempsey said year 13 of The Challenge will be The Global Dempsey Challenge.

All proceeds raised on September 25 and 26 will benefit The Dempsey Center, which works to make life better for people managing the impact of cancer. The center has locations in Lewiston and South Portland and now has a third virtual location, Dempsey Connects. Services are provided at no cost. 

This year, people can participate in the challenge locally in Lewiston or in their own hometown.

Register here for the Local Challenge or the Global Challenge.

Click here for the Challenge Week schedule of events

Credit: The Dempsey Center

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On Saturday, September 25, participants will complete the 5K/10K run and walk. The following day, riders take on one of the 25, 50, 65, and 100-mile rides.

Deneka Deletetsky is the events manager at the Dempsey Center. She says in-person activities will look a bit different this year as a result of COVID-19. Her team has been working with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure the challenge weekend is safe because protecting the immuno-compromised population is the utmost concern. 

Masks will be required in person for participants, staff, and volunteers. Gloves may be required in some cases depending on the contact point. Participants will be allowed to remove their masks while they're participating in their activity, as long as they're socially distanced on the course. Masks will be required in Simard-Payne Park during the celebration.

RELATED: In-person Dempsey Challenge returns in one month

In the past, the runs, walks, and bike rides have typically involved everyone starting at once, but this year there will be open start times. On Saturday, runners and walkers can start with their team any time beginning at 8 a.m. On Sunday, cyclists can do the same. 

"We're really relying on randomness and for people to just kind of come when they want to meet up with their team and essentially just go right to the course," Deletetsky explained about these COVID-19 precautions. 

RELATED: Dempsey Challenge to go global in 2021

In 2020, the challenge was fully virtual and Deletetsky said the center was still able to maintain its fundraising average of $1.2 million. This year for the global challenge, the center is aiming for its highest fundraising goal yet of $1.5 million. All proceeds go to helping clients and their families receive cancer care services at no cost.

"We like to say at the center that we treat the person, not the disease, and that's why it's so important," Deletetsky said.

RELATED: Lee Nelson hosts the 2020 Dempsey Challenge Closing Ceremonies

Those up for the challenge can register have until September 23 to register for the in-person event and raise the minimum of $250. Those taking part virtually can register through the weekend of the challenge. The $50 registration fee counts toward the fundraising minimum and Deletetsky said discounts are available for young adults and children.

RELATED: 'Team Marcy Strong' accepts Dempsey Challenge

NEWS CENTER Maine is proud to be the media sponsor of The Global Dempsey Challenge.

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