For the third year in a row, the Dempsey Challenge bike race has succeeded in raising tremendous amounts of cash to help fight cancer. 

 

The two-day event — a festival of walking, running, music, entertainment, health and wellness — is the annual fundraiser for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing in Lewiston, Maine. The 45-year-old, a native of the area, established the center in 2008 because of his mother's continuous battles with ovarian cancer.

 

"For a family to get a cancer diagnosis is devastating, and all the information out there can be overwhelming," he said during the unveiling. "A lot of the websites I went to just didn't have enough information. So I talked to my sister about a place where people could go for all this type of information and help. Knowledge is power."

 

To assist in funding the hospital, the Dempsey Challenge — which includes challenges of 10-, 20-, 50- and 100-mile rides — kicked off in 2009. This year's event brought in more than $1 million and featured more than 4,000 participants, as well as several Tour de France veterans. 

 

"The cyclists in Maine, I wanted to do something challenging for them and unite these different groups. I am a huge fan of cycling," Dempsey said in an interview with the Maine Outdoor Journal. "I'd like it to become quite an event."

 

He also wants it to stand as a symbol of good health; pointing out that bike riding is a fantastic way to keep the pounds off.

 

"It's a great way to stay in shape," he said. "There is a big problem with obesity. People should get on a bike, and exercise, get into group riding, the socializing aspect of it, and the spirit of the thing."

 

More info on the next challenge, which is scheduled for Oct. 13-14, 2012, can be found by visiting the official site here. Check out a promo below.