The Inner Challenge: stories of pain, strain and gain emerge from those inspired by the Dempsey Challenge

Posted Sept. 25, 2011, at 9:35 a.m.
photo: Dempsey Challenge

The Lewiston Sun Journal reports on five Mainers preparing to take The Dempsey Challenge, a run/walk/bike event in Lewiston that serves as a major fundraiser for the The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. Participants describe the challenges they have faced in training for the strenuous event and the motivations that have kept them strong.

“With cancer pervading both sides of her family, and anticipating a questionable future for her teenage children, Kennebunk-based Jane VanDerburgh Dumais, 44, wanted to walk in the 2009 Dempsey Challenge.

‘If I could do just part of the 5k, I would feel I had achieved something,” Dumais said of her thinking at the time, noting Lyme disease and accruing fibromyalgia had relegated her to dependence on a cane and sometimes a wheelchair.

Ballooning to 180 pounds, the former registered nurse had seen a litany of doctors and specialists since 2006, having lost a large portion of her cognitive and neurological abilities, developing Lyme-related arthritis, migraines, vertigo and also losing some of her hearing. (The hearing issue was later attributed to a specific antibiotic she was on, and was reversed.) “I had no quality of life and the stress on my family was overwhelming, making the depression I was suffering as a result of all this even worse,’ Dumais said.”

Read the full Sun Journal story here.

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