May 31, 2024

Windham varsity boys’ lacrosse making a difference through Dempsey Center fundraising

By Matt Pascarella

In a home game against Camden Hills on Friday, May 17, Windham’s varsity boys’ lacrosse team raised over $2,000 for the Dempsey Center through community donations.

Windham high boys' lacrosse seniors gather with their parents
on Friday, May 17 after the team raised over $2,000 to support
cancer research and services at the Dempsey Center. Back row, 
from left, are Amanda McPherson, Brooke Buzulchuck, Melissa
Holems-Perkins, Betsy Benish, Karry Joly, Cathy Streifel,
Ethan Smith, Stephanie Angelides, and Donna and Joe Somma.
Front row, from left, are Windham seniors Blake McPherson, 
Landon Buzulchuck, Tobias Perkins, Aiden Benish, Graden
Joly, Cam Streifel, Finn Smith, Jake Lord and Joey Somma.
According to its website, the Dempsey Center was founded by actor Patrick Dempsey in 2008 and provides comprehensive cancer care to Mainers at no cost.

A Maine native, Dempsey watched his mother’s journey with ovarian cancer and wanted to create a space where those going through any type of cancer could find relief, comfort and resources. The Dempsey Center provides care and support to hundreds of individuals as well as their families.

“Any donation goes to support our clients,” said Director of Strategic Relations Lorianne Saniuk. “Broken out fundraising efforts can go to 100 different things. Fundraising goes into our general budget for the year. With that the gift makes everything possible at the Dempsey Center. I know their coach really wanted them to see the ‘why’ of the center and they were in awe. We want them to continue to support and act as ambassadors and if they know of someone with a cancer diagnosis can suggest the Dempsey Center for support.”

Windham varsity boys’ coach Peter Small wanted to have his team take the positive experiences and good fortune they have to play a game they love and use that to benefit the community. The team embraced the Dempsey Center and all they do for those affected by cancer. Seniors had an informational tour of the Lewiston location. The team wore pink jerseys on May 17 to embrace cancer research and the team bought four jerseys which they have been raffling off for every $5 donation with every dime going directly to the center.

"The main goal of the Dempsey Center is to help those affected by cancer and give them the services and goods that they need to have the best life that they can,” said Windham senior Finn Smith. “They offer things like massages, acupuncture, wigs, they’re entirely fundraising-based – things like this are really important. A couple of our players, me included, have been affected by cancer in our lives. It’s really great to raise that substantial amount of money for an organization.”

Windham senior Jake Lord said the fundraising really brought the team together and helped them become stronger.

“It was also pretty cool to play for something bigger than ourselves which was cancer awareness,” said Windham senior Tobias Perkins. “That means a lot to me and other players on the team who have friends and family who were directly affected. It really makes you think about the things you do with your money and how they can be used to benefit someone in need ... anything helps and it’s really wonderful to see.”

If you would like to donate, you can do so directly through the Dempsey Center or through the boy’s lacrosse Venmo account @psmalljr. Every cent goes directly to the center.

Windham boys’ lacrosse are planning to participate in the Dempsey Challenge, which will celebrate its 16th year in 2024. The challenge will be held in Lewiston on Saturday, Sept. 21 and will feature run, walk and ride events. <

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