LEWISTON — With the 10th annual Dempsey Challenge less than two months away, organizers have added a new, up-close-and-personal incentive for fundraisers: a chance to have dinner with Challenge namesake Patrick Dempsey at his home in Kennebunkport.

Dempsey Center officials will randomly select five lucky fundraisers to have dinner with the movie star and race car driver two days before the event takes place Sept. 29 and 30 in Lewiston. 

But there are possible detours: Dempsey might not be there, the chef might not be there and the dinner might not happen, depending on busy schedules.

The dinner Thursday, Sept. 27, is a new incentive in the annual fundraising buildup that precedes the Dempsey Challenge.

The Challenge is a noncompetitive run/walk/cycle fundraiser dedicated to helping support the many nonmedical, cancer-related services provided by the Dempsey Centers in Lewiston and South Portland.

Those who raise $1,000 or more by Sept. 1 will be eligible to be picked for the dinner, according to organizers. Each winner will be allowed to bring a guest.

In order to be entered, fundraisers also must be registered in the 2018 Dempsey challenge. And those who raise enough to reach the $3,000, $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000 levels will correspondingly get three, five, 10 or 20 more entries.

The dinner will be prepared by popular Maine chef Jonathan Cartwright, formerly with Kennebunk’s White Barn Inn. The menu has not yet been determined. 

Dempsey Center Communications Director Nancy Audet said Tuesday that while Dempsey and Cartwright both have the Sept. 27 date currently open for the dinner, neither’s attendance is guaranteed. Additionally, the Dempsey Challenge reserves the right to cancel the event for any reason.

“There is no guarantee, and that’s in the fine print,” Audet said. “We can never guarantee Patrick’s attendance. With his schedule, we never know.”

The new incentive is one of many offered to Challenge fundraisers, where more fundraising equals more rewards. Incentives range from a $15 L.L.Bean gift card at the $500 level to an all-access pass to the VIP dining area with Patrick Dempsey and the professional racers at the $20,000+ level, according to the Dempsey Challenge website.

None of Dempsey’s family members is expected to be at the dinner.

Lewiston-born actor Patrick Dempsey, right, stands with supporter and fundraiser David Gervais of Lewiston in this 2017 photo. Gervais raised more than $18,000 last year for the Dempsey Challenge and has raised more than $105,000 since he started fundraising for the Challenge. Fundraisers this year will have an added incentive: a chance to have dinner with Dempsey at his Kennebunkport home. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal file photo)

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