May 25, 2018
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Champion the Cure set for Aug. 16-17

By Debra Bell, Special to The Weekly

Roof Systems of Maine owner Kevin Griffin has been a supporter of the EMMC Champion the Cure Challenge since its inception.

This year, though. his participation in the Challenge is personal; he is undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Griffin was diagnosed in February 2012 and went to the Mayo Clinic to learn his options. He was given two weeks to a month to live. Clinic officials suggested that he start a clinical trial; Griffin learned he could receive his treatment in Brewer, close to his home and business.

“Going through treatment at Cancer Care of Maine’s clinical trial increased my chance of survival by 30 percent,” Griffin said.

The clinical trial in which he participated is one of the many trials going on in Brewer. His trial included a “cocktail” of five different chemotherapy drugs and was administered at EMMC’s Cancer Care of Maine.

And receiving care in his own backyard was a comfort to Griffin. “If I had to [get] my treatments in Boston, I would never have been able to get as much rest,” he said. “It was life-saving to have this in [Maine].”

Griffin’s team, Team KG, will be one of more than 76 teams filling the grounds of the Eastern Maine Healthcare campus in Brewer Aug. 16-17. According to Jenifer Lloyd, philanthropy project manager for EMHS Foundation, 650 people are currently registrred with approximately 20 new registrants signing up each day.

This years marks the fourth year the Challenge has been going on, and more $1 million have been raised since its inception in 2010. This year, Lloyd said, more than $300,000 has been raised so far.

“I believe EMMC Champion the Cure Challenge speaks to the need in our community so adversely affected by cancer,” Lloyd said. “The Challenge benefits patients of all ages touched by all types of cancer. Of great importance is that 100 percent of the money raised stays here to support our friends and neighbors facing cancer.”

That was an important reason for Griffin’s participation even before his diagnosis.

“The money stays locally,” he said. “There are so many people who need help in our own local area.”

The funds raised are much needed, according to Allen L’Italien, RN, EMMC executive director and administrator for patient care at Cancer Care of Maine. The funds will “lead to expanded research into cancer care and provide opportunity for patients to receive newly designed, life-saving drugs without having to leave Maine.”

On Friday, Aug. 16, CTCC will host a pasta dinner with live music by Runner Up. At 5:30 p.m. motorcyclists participating in the CTCC will depart from the Brewer campus as part of a 50-mile motorcycle ride.

On Saturday, Aug. 17, bicyclists, walkers, and runners will have their turn at tackling the EMMC Champion the Cure Challenge’s 1K Family Walk, 5-10K walk/run, a 25-, 50-, or 100-mile bike ride, or in virtual participation for people who cannot attend the event.

Registration costs $25 per adult (ages 18 or older) and $15 per child between the ages of 2 and 17. Each bicyclists has a $125 fundraising goal.

After participants return, they can enjoy not only food donated by local eateries, but massages and live music. Awards will be given for the following:

● Top Individual Fundraiser ($1,000-plus);

● Top Individual Fundraiser Associated with a Business, Organization or Group  ($1,000-plus);

● Top Individual Fundraiser Family Fun 1k Walk Run ($250-plus);

● The Top Individual Fundraiser Boy & Girl;

● Honorary Chair Award: George Hale. This award is for an individual who advocates for the cancer patient and survivor population with time, talent, and support for Cancer Care of Maine;

● Terry Fox Award: Kevin Griffin. This award honors “heroes in our midst who exemplify the hope, courage, and determination to fight for cures through their own experiences with cancer as exemplified by Terry Fox.” Fox was a Canadian athlete who despite losing a leg to cancer attempted to run across Canada while raising money for cancer research. He died at age 23 in 1981, but raised $25 million for cancer research;

● Champion Award: Hollywood Casino. This award honors the lead fundraising efforts and support for EMMC Champion the Cure Challenge;

● Youth Champion Award: Carly and Johannah Philbrook.

To learn more or register online, visit or find the Challenge on Facebook at

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