LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Closing ceremonies concluded the second day of the Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston.
All proceeds from the weekend-long event go to the Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing, founded by actor Patrick Dempsey.
Saturday was for the runners, and Sunday, the cyclists took on 25, 50, 70 or 100 miles. Of course, that physical challenge is not always possible for everyone who wants to participate, especially for those undergoing treatment.
Thanks to the memory and legacy of Vivian St. Onge, those people could still participate in the cycling day.
St. Onge’s friend Kristen Short describes her as a “vibrant, creative and loving woman.”
St. Onge passed away in 2014 from breast cancer, but had the vision of finding a way for those undergoing treatment to participate by using pedicabs.
“She said, ‘I want to see them have the exhilaration and joy of this event,’” said Short.
Kristen Short, a survivor, often gets short of breath and struggles with oxygen as a result of her extensive breast cancer treatments. This is why she rides the 2.5-mile Vivian St. Onge Memorial Rickshaw Project ride, the last to take off at the final day of the Dempsey Challenge.
“It's very powerful to see how uplifting and helpful this event was,” Short said. “It wasn't something that was like, 'oh, this is a sad event, you're going to come and be satisfied with here.' No, not at all.”
Kristen has been involved with the Dempsey Center ever since her diagnosis in 2010. For her, it was a family effort, with her kids going to the Dempsey Center for support as well “to help them to process what this meant our family and what was going to happen with me with treatments and how to kind of help them have them camaraderie with other children,” she said.
Now, she is celebrating six years of being cancer free, and riding to celebrate.
The Dempsey Challenge may be over, but it's not too late to give to the Dempsey Center.
You can donate time or money to the center for hope and healing by visiting their website.