Amanda Dempsey Award

Named in memory of Amanda Dempsey, the award is given annually to a cancer survivor who demonstrates a passion for helping others with cancer in the state of Maine.

Christina Parrish Named Recipient of 2017 Amanda Dempsey Award presented by Amgen’s Breakaway From Cancer®


Christina Parrish has been named the 2017 Amanda Dempsey Award Winner presented by Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer®. Named in memory of Amanda Dempsey, the award is given annually to a cancer survivor who demonstrates a passion for helping others with cancer in the state of Maine. It is presented in conjunction with the annual Dempsey Challenge, the primary fundraising event for the Dempsey Center.

Christina was given her life-changing pancreatic cancer diagnosis on June 16, 2008, and was given 3-6 months to live with treatment.  Then and there, Christina made up her mind that no one in her lifetime should be given this news – thus she founded The Purple Iris Foundation in Brewer, ME to help raise awareness and support her fellow patients. Today, Christina is proud to say that she is a 9-year cancer survivor.

Christina is living proof that there is hope. She’s a seasoned human services professional, who through her 2 decades in the field has garnered exceptional experience and expertise working with adults and children with disabilities. She was also the director of a large child care facility, and most recently worked for a major bank in the collections division.

“Each year our partnership with the Dempsey Challenge reinforces the foundation of our Breakaway from Cancer initiative,” said Richard Paulson, vice president and general manager, Amgen Oncology. “Amgen is proud to be part of this event and to honor Christina for her dedication to leadership in the fight against cancer. Christina is a key player in the team that is leading the fight to overcome this disease, and we applaud her commitment to education and awareness. Congratulations, Christina, and thank you for your devotion to this effort.”

Christina will formally accept the award on Saturday, October 7, at the Champions for Hope Celebration, which recognizes the fundraising efforts of Dempsey Challenge participants. Past award winners include: Brooke Ismail, Dr. James Campbell, Nel Bernard, Hailey Sontag, Kristen Short, Laura Davis, Scott Thomas, Carlene Sperry and Allen Lariviere.

As part of Dempsey Challenge weekend, Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer and the Dempsey Challenge invite all cancer patients, survivors, and their families to walk with Christina and actor Patrick Dempsey in the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Survivor Walk on Saturday, October 7, at 10:00 a.m. at Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston. The walk is free to the public, and there is no need to preregister. Participants are encouraged to visit the Dempsey Challenge Information Tent by 9:45 a.m. to be directed to the staging area for the Walk.

Founded in 2005 by Amgen, Breakaway from Cancer is a national initiative to increase awareness of important resources available to people affected by cancer – from prevention through survivorship. Breakaway from Cancer is a collaboration between Amgen and four nonprofit partner organizations: Prevent Cancer Foundation, Cancer Support Community, Patient Advocate Foundation, and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. These organizations offer a broad range of support services complementing those provided by a patient’s team of healthcare professionals. For more information visit: or follow them on Twitter: