Amanda Dempsey, mother of Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey, 48, has sadly lost her long fought battle with ovarian cancer. Dempsey, 79, was originally diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1997 and has fought courageously throughout the years against many recurrences of the disease.
Through it all, Dempsey supported his mother, who lived in his hometown of Lewiston, Maine, as much as possible while living and working across the country in California. Through dealing with his mother’s illness, he and his siblings decided to create The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing. The center was founded by Patrick and his sisters, Mary and Alicia,in 2008.
While the center was created in honor of Dempsey’s mother, she is not the only person who has benefited from its creation. The existence of the center and Amanda’s story has reached out and touched the lives of thousands. In creating the center, Dempsey partnered with the Central Maine Medical Center where his mother had been receiving treatment. This allowed him to honor his mother and to help other families have the support they desperately needed to empower them to fight the long hard battle with those they loved who were also suffering from cancer. The center greatly helped Amanda Dempsey and it also gave “free cancer support, education, and integrative medicine services” to those in need.
Sometime later, the Dempsey Challenge began, which is a run, walk and cycle fundraising event with a host of activities for young and old. And all proceeds from the challenge go directly to benefit the Dempsey Center which allows them to give free services to those whose lives have been impacted by cancer. In all, the Dempsey Challenge has raised $5 million to benefit cancer.
At the time Patrick Dempsey lost his mother to cancer she had been in remission for five years and was known for leading the Survivor Walk at the annual Dempsey Challenge. But that’s not all she did to try to reach out and help others who were also battling the disease, she often volunteered at the Dempsey Center and even sewed handmade items for other patients, hoping it would give them a bit of comfort during a dark time.
Following Amanda’s death, Peter Chalke, president of the Dempsey Center, spoke about Amanda saying she was a great lady and one who was determined to fight. He went on to say that she displayed not only tremendous courage, but also class and grace during her long battle with ovarian cancer.
While everyone at the Dempsey Center is saddened by Amanda’s passing, Wendy Tardiff, Executive Director said that they planned to name the Dempsey Center’s Healing Garden in Amanda’s honor. And though they mourn the loss of her passing and the fact that she can no longer be with them, Tardiff says Amanda will continue to be at the Dempsey Center and Dempsey Challenge in spirit as a source of strength and unwavering perseverance. She went on to say that everyone at the center had heavy hearts at the loss of Amanda but had full hearts because of the thousands of lives Amanda touched throughout her battle.
It is a sad day, full of grief and loss, for Patrick Dempsey, his family, and all who knew and loved his mother Amanda as they say goodbye following her death to cancer. She will be missed.
Opinion By Donna W. Martin