Amanda Dempsey, the mother of actor Patrick Dempsey, died Monday, March 24 following a long and arduous battle with ovarian cancer. She was 79 and is survived by husband Howard Lowell, and her three children, son Patrick and daughters Alicia and Mary.
To honor his mother, the Grey's Anatomy star and his sisters founded The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at the Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Me. -- where Amanda was treated -- back in 2008. "The family wished to not only help other families affected by cancer, but also give back to their local community," Peter Chalke, president and CEO of Central Maine Healthcare shared in a statement distributed by the Dempsey Center on Tuesday.
For the last five years, Amanda Dempsey led the survivor walk during Dempsey Challenge weekend with her three kids and grandchildren. One memorable year, the Enchanted actor, 48, called his "notoriously shy mother" to the stage during closing ceremonies and quipped, 'Come on up here and say a few words, Mom!' His mother, as written in the press release, gave her son a stern look, slowly walked up to the stage, and told the crowd, "I just want to say, thank you all for coming. Drive safe."
The crowd roared in response. It was the first time Amanda had spoken in five years at the event.
To date, the Challenge has raised over $5 million to support the Dempsey Center, which provides "free cancer support, education and integrative medicine services to anyone impacted by cancer, regardless of where treatment is received."
"The entire Central Maine Medical family mourns the passing of Amanda Dempsey," Chalke shared. "Amanda Dempsey was both a great lady and a determined fighter who displayed tremendous courage, class and grace during her long battle with cancer… We will miss Amanda deeply, but we were all blessed by knowing her and being inspired by her life story."