LEWISTON — More than 1,000 men, women and children spanning 23 states and three Canadian provinces have registered to cycle, run or walk in The Dempsey Challenge, a fundraising event scheduled for Oct. 4 at Simard-Payne Police Memorial Park in Lewiston. Registrations are ongoing and will be accepted through the morning of the event.

Participants may choose one of four cycling routes (10, 25, 50 or 100 miles) or a 5K (3.1 mile) run/walk. The event’s namesake — actor, Maine native and avid cyclist Patrick Dempsey — is scheduled to take part in the festivities along with pro cyclists George Hincapie, a five-time Olympian, and David Zabriskie, a Tour de France record holder for fastest time trial. The event’s Festival in the Park will provide fun for the whole family with a Health and Wellness Expo, KidZone, lobster bake, live entertainment, health screenings and more.

“We are thrilled with the response we have received for The Challenge and are very optimistic we will reach our goal of 3,000 participants,” event manager Wendy Tardif said. “There is a lot of excitement around forming teams with co-workers, family and friends and raising money that will directly affect cancer survivors and their families everywhere.”

Funds will benefit the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center, which provides free support, education and wellness services to cancer patients and caregivers. Dempsey created the Center in response to his mother’s multiple bouts with ovarian cancer. In its first year, the Center had more than 6,000 direct patient contacts and served more than 2,000 on its toll-free cancer helpline. Through the Challenge, the star of TV’s Grey’s Anatomy hopes to raise cancer awareness and promote healthy lifestyles.

Participants are encouraged to create or join teams to build camaraderie and assist their fundraising efforts. Among the 116 registered teams, four have raised more than $4,000 thus far. Although the event offers fundraising incentives, no fundraising minimum is required to participate.

More information, including registration tools, route maps and a fundraising toolkit, is available at www.dempseychallenge.org.

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