Patrick Dempsey, center, walks with U.S. Sen. Angus King, left, during the annual Dempsey Challenge in 2021. Between them in the background is Dempsey’s sister, Mary. The annual Dempsey Challenge festivities begin Friday, Sept. 23, in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

LEWISTON — Actor Patrick Dempsey and the Dempsey Challenge will return to Lewiston-Auburn on Sept. 23 and 24 for the 14th year to honor those affected by cancer and to raise funds to support those with cancer and their families.

Organizers confirmed this week that Dempsey is set to appear, although details of his appearances will be released closer to the event. Cindy Williams and Lee Nelson, former broadcasters for WCSH-6 News Center Maine, will be emcees.

Dempsey, who founded the Dempsey Center in 2008, will star in “Disenchanted,” to be released in November. The movie is a sequel to “Enchanted.” Best known for his role as Dr. Derek Shepherd on “Grey’s Anatomy,” as well as his career in auto racing, the Buckfield-born actor has signed on to the Enzo Ferrari biopic “Ferrari” directed by Michael Mann in 2023.

The annual challenge is one of the biggest community events of the year, with virtual events for Dempsey Challenge Week starting Monday, Sept. 19.

Almost all of the live events during the actual three-day Dempsey Challenge will be centered around Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston, starting Friday evening, Sept. 23. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with “A Night of Love + Light.”

Open to the public, the night will begin with a Survivor Walk during which cancer survivors and the familv members of those with cancer will walk through the park before crossing a finish line, marking the beginning of a moment of silence for those lost to cancer. The recipient of the Amanda Dempsey Award will be announced, and the names of participants who raised $3,000 or more will be announced at 8 p.m. in the Luminary Tent, where snacks will be served.


As in past years, Saturday will be dedicated to walking and running events, beginning at 7:30 a.m., with awards at noon and a Dempsey Center open house from 1 to 3 p.m. There will be a free Kids Fun Run at 11 a.m.

Sunday will feature bicycling events with staggered starts for the 10-, 25-, 50-, 65- and 100-mile rides, beginning at 7:30 a.m.. Closing ceremonies will take place at 4 p.m.

Both days there will be plenty of activity at Simard-Payne Park, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The action both days will include: live music; a food and beverage tent; the Maine Craft Beer + Wine Garden, which will partner with Baxter Brewing, Side By Each, Gritty’s, Nonesuch River Brewing, Lone Pine Brewing and Stroudwater Distillery; a merchandise tent; a team photo wall; and the Dempsey Center Mission Walk offering information about Dempsey Center programs and services.

For the full schedule, go to

“As a lifetime member of the Lewiston-Auburn community, seeing everyone come together to support those who have been impacted by cancer is truly incredible,” Deneka Deletetsky, events manager at the Dempsey Center, said. “We are truly grateful for the support we receive here in our backyard and around the world year after year . . . and we are excited to be bringing even more great events to Simard-Payne Park!”

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