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LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Halfway through the Dempsey Challenge weekend, organizers say it is already a record-breaking challenge for participation and fundraising.

More than 4,250 people registered for this year's Dempsey Challenge, competing in the 5K or 10K run/walk, and/or the 10K-100K bicycle ride.

Participants have raised more than $1 million so far, and organizers say the donations keep coming in throughout the weekend.

Patrick Dempsey kicked off the Opening Ceremonies on Saturday morning before the run/walk.

He said the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing would not exist without the support of the community.

"Without them...we could not stay open and provide services," said Dempsey.

The Dempsey Center provides free support services to people impacted by cancer.

"There's something so pure in the cause, that it opens everybody up," said Dempsey.

And they did open up -- as participants shared their cancer stories as they completed the Dempsey Challenge course.

"We're walking for my mom who has pancreatic cancer," said Laura Grondin, part of team Carolyn's Commandos. "We're walking in support of her. She's in the hospital right now."

The 16 members of Carolyn's team went to the hospital to visit her after completing the 5K.

Members of Team Angela said their team captain's memory pushed them to finish line.

"I think the emotion is what drove our whole entire team to raise so much money," said Shannon Moon after finishing the 10K.

Team Angela was the top fundraising team, bringing in more than $39 thousand.

Team Captain Angela Black lost her battle to cancer a few months ago.

"I really have to thank our community, who has come alive and helped all of us," said Moon.

Cancer survivors took part in the Survivors Walk through Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston after the run/walk.

Patrick Dempsey led the hundreds of survivors and their friends and families, accompanying his mother Amanda, a seven-time cancer survivor.

The Dempsey Challenge bicycle ride begins Sunday morning.

Opening Ceremonies begin at 6:45 a.m. at Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston.

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