I participated in the Inaugural "Dempsey Challenge" yesterday. Many people don't realize that Patrick Dempsey (aka Dr. McDreamy) is from Buckfield Maine and went to high school in the Lewiston area. So, when he decided to "give back to his community" he founded "The Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing" at CMMC in Lewiston. The Dempsey Challenge included several cycling events as well as a 5K race. Patrick did the 50 mile ride.....since I look ridiculous in bike shorts, I did the 5K run. (Patrick, by the way looks fantastic in bike shorts). The sky was gray and it was kind of damp and cold yesterday morning as we gathered in the staging areas for our various events. People stood around, drank coffee, ate bagels and waited for the event to begin. At about 7:45, Patrick (we're on a first name basis now) stepped up to the stage and look out at the 3500 participants and the look on his face was absolutely priceless.
I wish I could have known what was going through his mind at that moment. Pride, amazement, gratitude, all of the above probably. I think he truly was amazed at what he had started. There were teams of people in matching t-shirts. Many had a motivation...a picture of a relative who had died of cancer......a friend who was a survivor, some were survivors themselves...living to tell their tale. I choked up then, and I choke up now just thinking about it. So inspiring. The Maine State Police were 140 members strong on their team, in their matching blue shirts, running the 5k and shouting out their cheers.
The most striking group for me was "Ali's Rack Pack." A group of women all in pink t-shirts, wearing festively adorned bras on the outside of their t-shirts. A rowdy bunch who smiled from ear to ear as they headed to the start line. What I only found out later, is this group was walking in memory of their friend, sister, mother, daughter, Ali who had passed away from Breast Cancer only 3 weeks before. I am sure Ali was smiling down on them yesterday! I am in awe of their grace and determination despite what I am sure is intense grief. And I can only hope that every woman who saw these women....will heed their advice and get a mammogram!
So, I guess all I can say is.....well done Patrick! What started a small way as a way of giving back to the community, quickly became bigger than all of us. I am proud to say I raised almost $900 for the cause, which seems miniscule in contrast the the $1Million raised from the event, but as they say, every little bit counts. I am even prouder to say I will definitely be back next year. This is what life is about. It's cold, damp, tragic, inspiring, funny, grueling, rewarding and so many other things. An event like this helps you remember that.
I hope I never forget.
By the way, they had an exposition tent and many of the tables were giving away door prizes. Of course, in channeling my Nana, I signed up for every door prize and guess what I won?
FREE BOTOX. So, the next time you see me, if I look slightly surprised...it's not my mood, it's the botox. :-)