WOOLWICH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Almost everyone participating in the Dempsey Challenge has his or her own story of a person they're walking, running or riding for. This year's top fundraising team has been particularly inspired. Angela Black of Bath planned to walk with her team, "Team Angela," just as she had every time since the Dempsey Challenge began. But this year, her friends and family will be walking in her memory. Black succumbed to breast cancer on August 16.
Black's friends say she was a fighter. A single mom of a now 23-year old son, she fought stage 4 breast cancer for 5 1/2 years, never asking for pity. Her friend, Bonnie Novak, said, "She worked 40 hours a week at BIW. She would take her Wednesday afternoons, she'd get her chemo, go back to work on Thursday, and then work Saturday to make up her time. That's just the kind of person she was."
All she asked of her friends was to be as tough as she was. Her friend, Jean Ann Williams, said, "She just made sure that you knew that you didn't have it bad, you had it good. You were very very lucky."
But even the strongest of us need someone to lean on. The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing served that role for Angela by giving her massage therapy, hugs, and any other support she asked for, free of charge. "They just made her feel so special," Novak said. "And they're such a fantastic place. They care about everybody who comes into that door."
And so Black fought for the center, too, walking in the Dempsey Challenge from its inception, so others could benefit, too. Her goal this year was to have 50 people walk with her and raise $10,000. So when Black lost her battle against cancer this summer, her friends knew they couldn't give up on her goal. They vowed to push harder, and raise $39,000 for the Dempsey Center because Angela was 39 years old.
134 people plan to walk in the Dempsey Challenge this weekend on Team Angela. The group has surpassed its fundraising goal and is now working towards having a room at the Dempsey Center named in Black's honor.
"There's power in the community. The whole community has come together to raise funds," her friend Bill Coffill said.
You can learn more about how you can help Team Angela on its Facebook page.
Click here to learn more about the Dempsey Challenge. It begins on Saturday.