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LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Dempsey Challenge run - walk and bicycle ride begins this weekend -- but some cyclists got a head start, all the way in Calgary, Alberta. 38 cyclists made the 10-day ride to end in Lewiston Friday morning.

The cyclists made it through ice, snow, cold winds in Calgary -- but got to Lewiston and Patrick Dempsey was there to greet them along with friends and family. The 2,500 mile trip is on top of the ride in the Dempsey Challenge this weekend. They're doing it to raise money for the Dempsey Center and for a film Patrick Dempsey is producing, called the Peloton Project.

Almost all of the cyclists are from Canada -- except one. Andy Bailes is a Mainer from Bowdoinham, and he's dedicating the ride to his son Brandon, who battled cancer for a year at the age of 13.

Patrick Dempsey told the group, "There's nothing better than this feeling, I think. Everybody's open, and loving, and supportive. There's no agenda, other than to just celebrate life. And I think that's what this represents to all of us. And what you've done is remarkable. It's beautiful. And we are so proud to have you here."