Thanks to online cycling platform Zwift, the local charity ride is going global. This past weekend, Patrick Dempsey hosted a Zwift ride as an online extension of his September event, the Dempsey Challenge, in support of the Dempsey Center.
Patrick Dempsey founded the Dempsey Center in 2008 to support those in his home state of Maine who are battling cancer. Dempsey started the organization to support the community that supported his family after his mother received cancer treatment in 1997. The center provides patients with customized services that include support groups, treatments like acupuncture, and counseling to help them and their families as they battle cancer.
Each year, the organization holds the Dempsey Challenge, where participants can run, walk or ride in Lewiston/Auburn, Maine. For those who can’t make the event though, it is possible to participate worldwide. While many will do their run, walk or ride offline, this year Patrick Demsepy joined a host of other riders on Zwift for the online portion of his charity ride.
“As far as what it means for the Dempsey Challenge, we love the opportunity to engage with folks around the world to bring them together as part of our community,” says Dempsey. “I’m literally riding with several thousand people on Zwift right now! Not everyone can get to Maine in late September, lovely though it is, and things like health, comfort on roads, fitness, and so many other personal circumstances can conspire to keep people from joining us in person.”
Riders on Zwift were also able to work together to increase the fundraising efforts of the challenge. When Zwifters participating in the event collectively reached 50,000 miles across all events, Zwift donated $50,000 to the Dempsey Center. “With Zwift we can all come together more readily, get more fit as a community, and drive a huge $50,000 donation for the Dempsey Center’s charitable mission,” says Dempsey.
Zwifters not only had the opportunity to ride with Patrick Dempsey, but to make a real difference. As the online cycling community grows, so too does its ability to do good in the world. So whether you’re riding on the road, or online, the ability for cyclist to do good in the world is only growing, and that’s something worth being excited about.