Sunday, October 4, 2009 dawned gray & dreary. But that didn’t deflate the excitement of the more than 3500 participants in the very first annual Dempsey Challenge – a fund raising athletic event created by McDreamy himself, Patrick Dempsey. Dempsey, a Buckfield, ME native founded The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing after his mother battled ovarian cancer. The Dempsey Challenge is an event that will help to fund the Center’s free support & wellness programs to cancer patients & their caregivers.
Inspired by the emotional impact of such a large event, along with the desire to contribute to the local community, Team Cuddledown was born. Associate Product Manager, Amanda, organized the group, working tirelessly to encourage employees to participate. Her work paid off. 21 Cuddledown employees, friends, & family members signed up & raised nearly $5000 – not bad for our very first time. We had a team member in every event: bikers riding 10, 25, 50, & 100 miles, as well as those in the 5k walk/run. Energy was high and enthusiasm was through the roof.
Cuddledown President, Chris, braved the 100 mile bike trek and had this to say about his experience:
Cuddledown director Bob and I rode the 100 mile route in 5 hours and 52 minutes (total riding time on the bike) averaging 17 MPH. The weather was overcast with temps in the low 60s and a few light showers. The route took us all over hilly south western Maine and those hills were a challenge. We were not the fastest riders, but were toward the leading edge of 100 mile riders, so everyone around us seemed to be experienced cyclists in great shape. We passed lots of people on the side of the road throughout the ride that were waiting to cheer us on. All the riders were in a great mood and sharing a sense of camaraderie as we worked toward a common goal. We stopped three times at the rest breaks that the event organizers had set up – each time gobbling up PB&Js and bananas, washing them down with Gatorade. I was impressed with the numbers of volunteers that were manning every road intersection and rest stop – it took an army of help to make the event happen. I was concerned that I might have the leg cramps that I tend to get on long rides, but managed to avoid them this time by taking electrolyte capsules and pacing myself. I raised $700 for the Dempsey Challenge and our team raised $4,801, while the event raised over $1 million – this is a tremendous result for a first time event and I am proud to have been a part of it.
A truly feel-good event all around. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Dempsey Challenge & hoping that the turn out is even more impressive.