As a way of giving back to the community where he grew up, Patrick Dempsey provided the initial funding to start The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing at Central Maine Medical Center. He continues to raise funds for the center every year through The Dempsey Challenge (a walk and biking fundraiser that takes place every October).
There is also word on the street that Patrick and Mary's inspiration for all of this (their mom) is also an active member of The Dempsey Center.
Here is the Dempsey Center mission statement:
"The mission of The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing is to improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities impacted by cancer through support, education, integrative medicine, outreach and prevention. We strive to embrace the whole person using a collaborative and holistic approach." They succeed at this and so much more.
My sister in law Susi (a cancer survivor) and I stopped in one day last year. When we walked in the front door of The Dempsey Center, we were graciously greeted with warmth and a hug from the very amazing and fabulous Michelle Small. Michelle is a Cancer Resource Specialist. This is my dream job and I was immediately jealous and wanted to hate her. No such luck. She is a total doll and extremely committed to the center and her patients.
She gave us a tour of the center and it was then and there that we were introduced to the world's greatest invention....THE PORT PROTECTOR!!!! (see my blog entry of last year: http://www.omgihavecancerwhatdoidonow.com/2012/05/port-cath-is-not-cruise-ship.html).
Michelle let us take one of them with us and we love her for that!!! Since then my sister in law Susi has made stacks of these as well as soft comfy hats. She makes them in FL and then sends them to my patients in Boston and to The Dempsey Center for their patients. We blatantly ripped off this great idea, and we thank and give full credit to The Dempsey Center for it!!!!
|The Fabulous Michelle Small|
But enough about THE AMAZING PORT PROTECTOR.....let's get back to The Dempsey Center and what it does...
The center provides free services to cancer survivors whether they have been treated at CMMC or not. Free massage, reiki, nutrition classes, exercise and wellness classes, support groups, one on one counseling, and a whole lot more are provided here. There is a free lending resource library with internet use for cancer patients and their families. Oncology social workers, financial counselors, resource specialists all are available to assist the survivor and their family members. SO many great services for anyone touched by cancer in Maine. Please see their website for a full description of their services.
This year we returned to the Dempsey Center. My sister in law had signed up as a volunteer to make hats, neck pillows, port protectors for the survivors. We were again greeted by Michelle, and this time by a human fireball of positive energy, Mary Dempsey. Hugs again greeted us along with a flurry of instructions for making these items for the patients. We participated in a volunteer sewing and neck pillow stuffing workshop.
The delightful leader of our sewing volunteer group that day was Mary Tucker a talented seamstress (Mainly Sewing of Lewiston) who gives of her time and considerable talents. She even enlisted her former marine husband Jerry to assist with cutting out fabric. A great team!!!
Bottom line: this is an awesome cancer survivorship center with a plethora of committed employees and volunteers.
If you are a cancer survivor (or a family member) in central Maine, do yourself a favor and check out the most excellent Dempsey Center.
If you are looking to donate to a worthwhile cause, please consider a donation to The Dempsey Challenge (or sponsor a rider or a walker).
Right now the Dempsey Center is a small haven located on the grounds of Central Maine Medical Center. In September 2012, they are moving to a larger and more beautiful place where all of the healing can take place.
|My sister in law and brother post Dempsey Challenge 11 mile bike ride|
|My Dempsey Challenge bike ride (11 miles!!) number and those who I rode in honor of|
|It is true....the whole Dempsey family gets involved!|