First Person

McDreamy’s Dream

On October 4, actor Patrick Dempsey will host a fund-raising event in Maine that includes a bicycling tour, 5K run/walk, and an all-day festival.

By Nancy Heiser
September 27, 2009

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What motivated you to found and open The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center last year? My mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer over 10 years ago, and she’s been battling it ever since. I ended up working with Amgen Tour of California, Breakaway from Cancer, and that really opened the door to explore what was going on in Maine, and began the dialogue at CMMC.

You grew up nearby. Yes. I went to school in Lewiston, and I was born at the hospital.

Why did you pick a bicycle tour to help fund it? I ride a bike to stay in shape, and I wanted to do something I’m passionate about.

Will you be cycling in the Dempsey Challenge? I will. I can only do 50 miles, instead of the century, with the other obligations I have. I have a lot of people to thank and people in the hospital I have to see.

Are any other celebrities going to be on hand? [Professional road bicycle racers] George Hincapie, David Zabriskie. Members of my [car] race team, Hyper Sport/Dempsey Racing. Hollywood celebrities? No. I prefer the sporting ones.

I hear you’re an adept juggler. Any chance you’ll break into some tricks when you’re in Maine? I was second place in a national juggling championship, junior division. I think I’ll be juggling with Randy Junkins, who was a mentor of mine as a kid. Right now I’m doing a movie, Valentine’s Day, with Garry Marshall. Every scene that I’m in, he has me juggling.

Why is that? To illustrate an emotional scene in the movie. The character uses it as avoidance.

What else are you working on? I’m back on Grey’s Anatomy. I’m shooting Valentine’s Day. I’m acquiring the rights to The Art of Racing in the Rain. I’m developing a lot of material for when there’s an end to Grey’s. I’ll be able to go off into producing and acting.

How often do you and your family get to your coastal home in Maine? It’s been very difficult with my schedule with Grey’s and my racing commitments. I’ll be back this fall, which are the best months anyway.