The actor and philanthropist received an Impact Award at our Cal Spirit 34 Food and Wine Benefit on August 18
Actor Patrick Dempsey, best known for his role as neurosurgeon Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd in the TV show Grey's Anatomy, was honored with an American Cancer Society Impact Award on Sunday for his work helping those diagnosed with cancer through his Dempsey Centers in Maine.
The sold-out event was held at the Sony Pictures Studio in Culver City, CA. The California Spirit Food and Wine Benefit has raised more than $16 million over 34 years, and this year's event was over goal.
Dempsey, 53, who attended with his wife, Jillian Fink, and his daughter, Tallulah, 17, founded the first Dempsey Center in Lewiston, Maine, in 2008, wanting to give back to the community where he grew up, and where his mother, Amanda, first received treatment for ovarian cancer in 1997. She died in 2014.
There are now two centers in his home state of Maine - in Lewiston and South Portland - where 2,500 cancer patients receive free services every year.
The honorary chairs for Cal Spirit 34 were Sherry Lansing, former CEO of Paramount Pictures and the first woman to head a Hollywood movie studio, and Phil Rosenthal, the Emmy Award-winning creator and writer for “Everyone Loves Raymond,” “Spanglish,” and “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having.” He currently stars in “Somebody Feed Phil” on Netflix.
Lansing founded California Spirit in 1984 as her way to give back after her mother died from ovarian cancer. She has remained committed to the event throughout its 34-year history.
The host chef for Cal Spirit 34 was Antonia Lofaso, a chef, TV personality, cookbook author, and restaurant owner. Her dad is a two-time cancer survivor. Emcee was June Quan, Esq., founder of the popular Instagram page “Stir and Style.” She lost a grandmother to pancreatic cancer, an aunt is a survivor of ovarian cancer, and another aunt is currently fighting breast cancer.
In addition to enjoying the gourmet food, guests had the opportunity to participate in a silent auction, where they could bid on items ranging from a VIP experience at Jimmy Kimmel Live! to dinner at Spago or a whiskey package from Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. Live auction items included a Dodger Stadium luxury box experience and a trip to Paris to watch the French Open. Lansing may have raised the most money for any item when she auctioned off a dinner and film screening for 12 at her home theater. Three different guests agreed to pay $11,000 each for the experience.
Following the dinner hour, there were speeches from Lansing, Rosenthal, and Dempsey, as well as from teenager Caitlin Herron, who detailed her experience as a young cancer survivor. Also speaking briefly was Harry Joseph Lennix III, co-star of the NBC drama The Blacklist.
The annual Dempsey Challenge, a walk, run, bike event in the Lewiston-Auburn, helps support the Dempsey Centers. In October 2009, when Dempsey introduced the first Dempsey Challenge, registration was closed after reaching the goal of 3,500 cyclists, runners, and walkers. The event raised more than $1 million for the cancer center. The Challenge has become an annual October event presented by Amgen.
Tickets to California Spirit were $250 per person and sponsorships started at $5,000.
To learn even more and see lots of photos, visit the Average Socialite website.
TOP PHOTO: From left, Jeff Klaas, EVP, West Region; Phil Rosenthal; Sherry Lansing; and Patrick Dempsey.