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Dempsey Center and So. Portland’s Cancer Community Center announce intent to merge

The boards of directors of Lewiston’s Dempsey Center and South Portland’s Cancer Community Center, both well-respected for delivering cancer quality of life services in Maine, have unanimously agreed to develop a merger agreement? over the next several months. The newly merged entity will be independent of Central Maine Healthcare, a founding partner, and will operate under the name the Dempsey Centers, reflecting the organization’s expanded scale and mission.

The merger remains subject to ongoing due diligence, the negotiation of a merger agreement, and final approval of the boards of directors of both organizations, but it is anticipated that the newly merged organization will begin operating by early 2018.

The Dempsey Center currently operates as part of CMH, but intends to become wholly independent from the health system prior to the anticipated merger with Cancer Community Center. The decision to become independent was driven by growth opportunities which, in the face of growing demand for cancer care services in Maine, will allow the Dempsey Center to expand its mission by opening access to more philanthropic support and grant opportunities.

Dempsey Center executive director Wendy Tardif will continue as executive director of the combined Dempsey Centers. Her counterpart at Cancer Community Center, Nicole Avery, will take on a senior leadership role within the new organization. Dempsey Center founder and actor Patrick Dempsey plans to be more involved with the expanded organization and will hold a permanent seat on the new board of directors, working closely with leadership, donors and staff as its guiding voice.

“Our management teams complement each other in terms of roles and skill sets,” says Avery. “We are looking forward to bringing together the expertise, focus and passion of our amazing people. What’s most exciting is that those we presently serve will benefit from our shared services, multiple locations, enhanced programming, and a new vision for the future.”

“Cancer hit our family hard, and experiencing our mother’s journey, we were inspired to ensure that those impacted by cancer had the programs and services needed to support healing and to simply cope with everyday living,” said Dempsey. “We know our work in Maine will never be done, though we all see potential to replicate this model in some capacity throughout the State of Maine and beyond. By working together, the possibilities are endless.”

According to statistics from a 2014 Maine Cancer Surveillance Report and 2013 Maine Cancer Foundation Report, cancer is the leading cause of death in Maine; it is estimated that over 125,000 Mainers are cancer survivors; an average of 8,321 new cancer diagnoses are made in Maine each year; and over 11,000 Maine residents are currently acting as ?the primary caregiver to a cancer patient.

In the first year following the merger, the combined Centers are projected to employ approximately 30 people to provide services to more than 5,000 individuals and families impacted by cancer around the state. Clients of both organizations will continue to have access to all their current services, programs and groups.

One Response to “Dempsey Center and So. Portland’s Cancer Community Center announce intent to merge”

  • Cat Jenkins:

    I’m a Maine resident working in Ohio and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer in May. Although I received treatment in Ohio due to my job, I received a care package from the Dempsey center and was overwhelmed by the thought and consideration for not only the thoughtful person who mailed the package, but also for the Dempsey Center’s work and commitment to simply providing comfort. The pillows for under my arms, the journal for my thoughts, the books of encouragement and health, etc. You could say I had an epiphany for the foundation’s work and the importance of providing these kinds comforts beyond the medical treatment. Thank you to the Dempsey Center from the bottom of my heart. I get it now and I’m going to pay it forward.

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