News & Events

Champion the Cure Challenge Announces 2021 Honorees

Date: 01/21/2021

CTCC-it-s-a-new-year-card-1-(1).jpgChampion the Cure Challenge, the region’s only event whose proceeds fund local cancer treatment and research, proudly celebrates the individuals, businesses, and organizations that help bring the best treatments to Maine, contribute to future cures, and inspire others to join in the fight to defeat cancer.

Each year, The Challenge recognizes several honorees who are extraordinarily dedicated to the cause. Champion the Cure Challenge is pleased to recognize its 2021 Honorees:

Allen L’Italien, RN, OCN, Honorary Chair

Allen recently retired from his role as executive director of the Lafayette Family Cancer Institute/Northern Light Cancer Care after a distinguished, decades-long career improving cancer care services for Maine patients. A visionary leader, Allen guided the development of the Lafayette Family Cancer Institute, expanded local cancer research, and ensured access to new treatment options. Allen has been a friend and advocate to The Challenge since the first event was held in 2010.

Marie Stewart-Downing, Mart Lapin (posthumously), and Sienna Probert (posthumously), Terry Fox Award

Marie, a cancer survivor, is a friend, confidante, and mentor to patients and families who have been affected by cancer. Her positive attitude is reassuring to others when they are at their most vulnerable. A contributor to The Challenge through her job, Marie goes above and beyond what’s expected to make the event a success, year after year. Nearly a decade after being diagnosed, Marie continues to be a resource to individuals and families who have been touched by cancer.

Mart, a lawyer and five-time cancer survivor, was well known in our region for his leadership in helping others affected by cancer. He founded the nonprofit Oncology Support Foundation in 2005 to provide assistance with travel, lodging, and food to cancer patients. Mart received the Community Support Award from Northern Light Cancer Care in 2006, was recognized at the Run for Hope, a predecessor to Champion the Cure Challenge, and received the Volunteer Values Award from the American Cancer Society. Survived by his wife Mary, Mart is remembered for his dedication to cancer patients and families, especially those facing financial hardship.

Sienna’s sprit, optimism, and determination inspired everyone around during her battle with a rare form of pediatric cancer. A student at Hampden Academy, Sienna was an avid skier, musician, and animal lover known for her smile, intelligence, and wit. She was a role model who was committed to helping others by improving awareness of her disease and raising money for cancer research and patient care. Sienna’s Champion the Cure Challenge team, Lady Sienna’s Imperial Demon Army, continues to lead the way in supporting local cancer care services in her memory.

Maine Savings Federal Credit Union, Corporate Champion

A Champion the Cure Challenge sponsor for the last decade, Maine Savings Federal Credit Union supports the event in multiple ways every year. Through financial support, participating on the leadership committee, coordinating rest stops, and leading our packet pickup week volunteer efforts, they serve as a powerful example of how other businesses in our community can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.

Healy Chiropractic, Community Champion

Nothing hits the spot after a Champion the Cure Challenge walk, run, or bike ride more than a massage. Healy Chiropractic and Wellness Center in Brewer provides this service at no cost to Challenge survivors and participants year after year. Healy Chiropractic’s support is a model for how dedicated individuals and businesses can support The Challenge in unique and meaningful ways.

Jill Smith, Volunteer of the Year

Jill was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2017 and started her Champion the Cure Challenge team, Jill’s Journey, in 2018. An active member of The Challenge Leadership Committee, Jill devotes countless hours each year to helping the event reach its annual goal. Volunteers play a critical role in the event, and Jill leads the way by offering her time, passion, and expertise to make The Challenge a success.

To register for the 2021 Champion the Cure Challenge, please visit