PORTLAND, Maine — I've spent many nights at Hadlock Field throughout my 26 years, but Wednesday night took the cake.
Wednesday was Patrick Dempsey bobblehead night at the Portland Sea Dogs game, but it was much more than just a bobblehead giveaway. The night was a celebration of Maine's cancer resources, those who have used the resources, and those who have worked to make the resources available.
Earlier in the afternoon, Patrick *insert high-pitched shriek here* stopped by NEWS CENTER Maine in Portland to give us an early preview of September's Dempsey Challenge. NEWS CENTER Maine is a media sponsor of the event, and, as a digital producer, my job was to get some fun content for our social media pages. Sneak peek below!
In response to his mother’s cancer battle, Dempsey founded the Dempsey Center in 2009 with the mission to help make life better for people impacted by cancer. There are two physical centers in Lewiston and South Portland, and there's a virtual platform called Dempsey Connects. The center’s team of experts provides curated, holistic care to people impacted by cancer in Maine and beyond.
The Dempsey Challenge is an annual run/walk/ride experience to benefit the Dempsey Center. This year's run and walk are on Sept. 24, and the bike ride is Sept. 25. Click here for more information on this year's event.
When I found out on May 5 about Wednesday's bobblehead night, I knew I had to get tickets for me and my mom (Shoutout to the Sea Dogs for making the announcement right before Mother's Day. Truly looking out for Maine's last-minute-shopping sons). Not only is she a huge "Grey's Anatomy" fan, but she initially got into the show at the same time she started chemo treatments for breast cancer.
"The patients in the show were often much worse off than I, which made me feel much better as I sat at home on my couch, bald yet comfy, watching show after show. … Crazy memories of an insane chapter of my life," my mom wrote in a Facebook post recapping her experience at the game.
The best part is she met Patrick at the game and told him this herself, even adding that she stopped watching the show after his character, Derek Shepherd, was (SPOILER ALERT) killed off.
"I had to tell him that I became a fan after deciding that I’d better watch “Grey’s Anatomy” and find out why so many women that I know are so enamored with him before setting foot in the Dempsey Center AND that in doing so, the show helped me get through months of chemo treatments as it was so well written…. that is, until he got killed off," she wrote. "Luckily that was like 14 seasons in with 25+ shows per season… Phew!"
Patrick was excited to hear her thoughts on the show, and he made clear that the Dempsey Center is always there for her and so many others who have experienced similar cancer journeys.
"So glad he turned out to be a Mainer with a heart of gold and a generous soul with his time and money, and what a wonderful healing resource the Dempsey Center has been for Maine!!!" my mom wrote.
Dempsey threw the first pitch and spoke to the crowd before the game with Man Up to Cancer founder Trevor Maxwell. Maxwell, a stage four colon cancer survivor, founded Man Up to Cancer to inspire men to connect and avoid isolation throughout their cancer journeys.
It was the perfect night at the ballpark. The hometown Sea Dogs won an exciting game, the weather was perfect, and the bobbleheads lived up to expectations. Most important, however, was the feeling of Mainers supporting fellow Mainers in the unique ways that each of us can.
As Patrick told the crowd before the game, "Just like baseball is a team sport, so is fighting cancer."