ANGELA BLACK lost her battle with cancer on Aug. 16, a month shy of her 40th birthday, but is still motivating Team Angela for this weekend’s The Dempsey Challenge.

ANGELA BLACK lost her battle with cancer on Aug. 16, a month shy of her 40th birthday, but is still motivating Team Angela for this weekend’s The Dempsey Challenge.

BATH

Angela Black died Aug. 16, five-and-a-half years after she was first diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.

She was 39 years old, a month shy of her 40th birthday.

That was a Thursday.

Two days later, Team Angela — the group of 20 or so friends she had organized to walk in The Dempsey Challenge with her — was out holding a car wash, raising money for the cause their friend embraced.

FROM LEFT, Jennifer Trudell, Michelle Trudell and Jayne McCole hold up the banner at Coastal Glass & Window in Bath, the unofficial headquarters for Team Angela because, “we’re so centrally located,” Jennifer Trudell said in an interview Thursday. Team Angela had the banner made with Angela Black’s “signature” word — “Seriously” — for the group to carry during The Dempsey Challenge Saturday.

FROM LEFT, Jennifer Trudell, Michelle Trudell and Jayne McCole hold up the banner at Coastal Glass & Window in Bath, the unofficial headquarters for Team Angela because, “we’re so centrally located,” Jennifer Trudell said in an interview Thursday. Team Angela had the banner made with Angela Black’s “signature” word — “Seriously” — for the group to carry during The Dempsey Challenge Saturday.

That’s what Angela would have wanted.

“This year, I have put the bar a little higher for our team and I know my team will make it every step of the way,” Angela wrote on the Team Angela page of The Dempsey Challenge website.

They more than made it.

In the wake of Angela’s death, Team Angela swelled KIMBERLY HOWARD

PHOTO from almost two dozen to more than 135 people, some whose paths crossed Angela’s at work at Bath Iron Works, in the community or at The Dempsey Center in Lewiston; and some who did not know her at all.

Jayne McCole and Jennifer Trudell — two friends who walked with Angela in last year’s Dempsey Challenge — made the commitment back then to walk again this year.

“We were in some parking garage in Lewiston last year at the end of the Challenge, and that’s when we promised we’d make this year the best year,” McCole said as she and Trudell took care of lastminute details for this year’s event at Coastal Glass & Window in Bath, the unofficial Team Angela headquarters.

The Dempsey Challenge is a fundraiser for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

Comprised of various cycling distances and a 5K and 10K run/walk, participants 18 and older are required to raise $150 as they prepare for the Challenge.

Nobody on the team thought they would be doing it this year without Angela.

“She was the one who was always pushing us. At last year’s Challenge — we left when it was still pitch black — she was up, dressed and ready to roll. We just wanted coffee,” McCole said.

Trudell agreed. “To look at her, you would never know that stuff was coming up for her again, that she was getting sicker,” she said.

But Bill Coffill, who has been Angela’s friend since they met at the Patten Free Library in fifth grade, knew.

“The cancer had been spreading over the years. It was in her bones, her skin, her stomach lining, liver. She always went into the hospital and came back out. We all expected her to bounce back when she went in (to the hospital) in August. But she didn’t this time,” Coffill said.

And yet for Coffill, McCole, Trudell and others who stepped up to make sure Team Angela met the goal of raising $10,000 and included 50 walkers, Angela is still captain of the team.

“It’s like she’s not really gone,” Trudell said. “It’s really helped a lot of us mourn.”

An outpouring of support from the community has left McCole and Trudell feeling as though Angela had a hand in helping them get through their loss.

“I think she’s still taking care of us because now we have each other,” McCole said. “Everyone’s an individual friend of Angela in different ways. She worked her magic and all of these different facets of her life have come together to make Team Angela what it is.”

Angela’s son, 23-year-old Matt Holcombe, still struggles with his grief. Since he shared a home with Angela, little, unexpected, daily things remind him that she’s gone, even though he knows she is always with him.

On Saturday, Holcombe will be in the ranks of Team Angela, walking to honor his mom.

“This has been a great help in getting me through all of this. I would say, ‘Just take care of you,’ but she was always taking care of me, of everyone else,” Holcombe said.

The group had only raised $5,000 when Angela died. Then they raised the bar even higher by making their fundraising goal $39,000 — $1,000 for each year of Angela’s life.

Two months later, that amount has grown to $40,500.

“We’re always asking ourselves, ‘What would Angela say,’” Trudell said. “Her signature thing to say was always, “Seriously?’ I think that’s what she’s saying now.”

The Dempsey Challenge takes place this Saturday and Sunday, beginning and ending at Simard-Payne Police Memorial Park, 46 Beech St., Lewiston.

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¦ THE DEMPSEY CHALLENGE is a fundraiser for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. Comprised of various cycling distances and a 5K and 10K run/walk, participants 18 and older are required to raise $150 as they prepare for the Challenge. The event takes place Saturday and Sunday, beginning and ending at Simard-Payne Police Memorial Park, 46 Beech St., Lewiston.


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