LEWISTON — Brooke Ismail has been named the 2016 Amanda Dempsey Award winner.

Named in memory of Amanda Dempsey, the award is given annually to a cancer survivor who demonstrates a passion for helping others with cancer in the state of Maine. It is presented in conjunction with the annual Dempsey Challenge, the primary fundraising event for the Dempsey Center.

Ismail was first diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2013. Her diagnosis required a double mastectomy, and even though her surgery was to take place on Oct. 1, 2013, she insisted on attending the Dempsey Challenge just nine days later. That Sunday morning, she was driven to the finish line to cheer on her team members from Brooke’s Rack Pack, who participated in her honor.

Ismail took her diagnosis as a challenge to help others and their families as they face their cancer journeys. She has become passionately involved in cancer research, support and fundraising.

In the last few years, Ismail has taken on major responsibilities in the cancer community to help patients, families and survivors. She’s on the leadership committee of the Champion the Cure Challenge in Bangor and is key committee member of the Pink Runway Project. She recently started a peer-to-peer support group called Open Arms, which helps educate, empower and provide support and friendship to women in various stages of their cancer journey — all from a patient perspective.

Ismail will formally accept the award on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Champions for Hope Celebration, which recognizes the fundraising efforts of Dempsey Challenge participants. Past award winners include Dr. James Campbell, Nel Bernard, Hailey Sontag, Kristen Short, Laura Davis, Scott Thomas, Carlene Sperry and Allen Lariviere.

As part of Dempsey Challenge weekend, all cancer patients, survivors, and their families may walk with Ismail and actor Patrick Dempsey in the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Survivor Walk at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at Simard-Payne Memorial Park. The walk is free to the public, and preregistration is not necessary. There is a new start location this year, so participants are encouraged to visit the Dempsey Center Spirit of Hope Tent by 9:45 a.m. to be directed to the staging area for the walk.


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