I was at a good place in my life — a beautiful wife, home, summer camp, a great job and was living the good all-American life. Then tragedy — I was diagnosed with cancer.

I am only 48 years old. It seemed like a death sentence. Life was spinning out of control.

The only thing I knew about cancer was that it kills. A vortex of thoughts consumed me — lots of what ifs and what’s next; how long and what’s my future going to be like.

A friend of mine had referred me to the Dempsey Center for support, and so I went. I never knew what the place was, let alone ever needing the services offered there.

As I walked in, it was almost like walking through the pearly gates of heaven — the atmosphere is so calming, soothing and relaxing.

I was immediately assigned to a social worker who was not only able to help me calm my nerves, but also educated me on cancer and what to expect living with this. They are the most compassionate, resourceful and knowledgeable group of people I have ever met.

With their assistance, I am able to take this on with dignity and strength and not be consumed with fear of the unknown.

Paul Lavalliere, Lewiston

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