Actor Patrick Dempsey lives in California, but Maine is home.
Dempsey was back in New England last weekend to receive an award from the Maine Center for Creativity. The award celebrates excellence in art and innovation. Dempsey was honored along with the CEO of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor.
On the surface it may seem like an unlikely pair to share the same stage, since one is a famous actor and the other a world renowned geneticist. They do have one very important thing in common: both are helping people fight cancer.
Patrick Dempsey has played Dr. Derek Shepard on the show "Grey's Anatomy" for the past nine years.
"the writers have allowed me to play a character that is an archetype. You aren't that person but it forces me to become that person or become a better person because of it," he said.
For Dempsey, part of that journey meant putting his name and financial resources behind a wellness center for people with cancer. The Patrick Dempsey
Center for Cancer Hope and Healing offers free support, education and integrative medicine to cancer patients. Dempsey's mother Amanda waged a 17-year battle against cancer and died last March.
Dempsey shared that story while sitting next to Dr. Edison Liu, the CEO of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. The Jackson Laboratory is a biomedical research center that looks to crack the genetic code of diseases and find cures. Researchers across the globe use Jackson Lab mice to aid their own work and more than a dozen Nobel prizes are linked to the lab.
Dr. Liu says the connection between art and science is stronger than many realize.
"Science and art are pretty much the same thing, the basis for our work and the work of an artist is creating something new. Novelty is the key and impact is the outcome," Dr. Liu said.
It is because both Jackson Lab and Patrick Dempsey have had a positive impact in the fight against cancer that they were honored together by the Maine Center for Creativity.
"We are a catalyst to put unexpected partnerships together between arts and industry so that we can put Maine on the map for creativity and innovation so we can build our cultural vibrancy," Jean Maginnis, the executive director, said.