In 1997, actor Patrick Dempsey received the news that no one ever wants to hear – that his mother had been diagnosed with cancer. After a 17-year battle with the disease, his mother passed away, but her determination to give back to the community still serves as inspiration for Patrick and the work he does today.
In 2008, Patrick founded the Dempsey Center, a not-for-profit organization based in Maine where his mother first received treatment for her cancer. The goal of the Dempsey Center is to provide personalized, holistic support services to anyone facing the many challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis.
Patrick recently sat down to record a conversation with his friend Amanda for Amgen's Every Patient Counts, Every Story Matters – a collaborative effort with the non-profit organization StoryCorps to raise awareness about different types of cancer through the sharing of personal stories. Patrick and Amanda discuss the creation of the Dempsey Center and Amanda's journey with cancer, including her experience with the Dempsey Center as a patient.
"I found the Dempsey Center and started using services during COVID, that's when I could really accept my own reality," Amanda said, reflecting on coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis during the pandemic. "Cancer has taken a lot, but it has given me a sense of self. I would prefer not to have cancer to be able to find myself, but I am grateful that it has brought me to this place."
Listen to the conversation between Patrick and Amanda below.
While science continues to explore potential cures, every cancer journey is full of challenges from many angles. As Amanda shared, cancer can feel lonely. "I feel like an incredibly privileged human being to be able to access the services and to receive the support that I did during that time. Cancer can feel like a really lonely thing, but it doesn't have to be," she noted.
In a shared mission to make life better for people affected by cancer, Amgen and Patrick Dempsey have been working together for almost 15 years to help provide patients and their families with resources to support them throughout their cancer journey. Amgen has been a presenting sponsor since the first year of the Dempsey Challenge, the organization's yearly event where participants can run, walk or bike to raise money to raise funds to help support the Dempsey Center. This year's fundraiser will take place on the weekend of September 24-25.
Check out other stories from the Every Patient Counts, Every Story Matters oncology series by visiting the playlist on YouTube, and follow Amgen Oncology's Twitter and LinkedIn channels to stay up to date. Stay tuned for the next chapter in Amgen's ongoing work with StoryCorps, a health equity series focused on cancer, cardiovascular disease and asthma rolling out this fall.