In addition to the portrayal of Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey also races cars. He’s been racing through Dempsey Racing, which formed in 2002. Racing is so important to Dempsey that recent contract negotiations for his continued appearance on Grey’s hinge on his ability to have time off to race - “The biggest point for me in negotiations is getting time off to come race, so if I don’t miss races, I’ll probably stay on ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’” (quote source: Huffington Post)
Not too far away from where I’m currently living is Virginia International Raceway, or VIR as it’s known to locals and racing enthusiasts. Back in June, American LeMans held a test day at VIR for several teams. I had no idea when my dad first mentioned going that Dempsey would be there. All I cared about was seeing the amazing cars.
I’ve been watching non-Nascar racing for quite some time now. We primarily watch F1 but given that there are no F1 tracks nearby, we settle for Grand-Am and now American LeMans if local events are attended.
I woke up early on June 14th to make the trek to VIR with my dad. After we paid for our entrance, we made our way to the Oak Tree corner to get started. The first race car came screaming around the curve, leaving me breathless. Then we went down to the top of the RollerCoaster, which was where I first saw Dempsey’s car pop over the hill. Only I didn’t know it was Dempsey’s car. It was quite simply, the most beautiful vehicle I’d ever seen on a racetrack.
It wasn’t until later in the day while meandering around the Pits that I realized Dempsey Racing was there. Then we overheard some VIR employees discussing his performance the day before. I whispered to my dad that if Patrick was indeed there, I simply had to meet him and he had to get a picture.
As we continued to wander down through Pit Row, the sky darkened and we decided to go grab some lunch. Rain dropped down on us right as we reached the concession area but cleared up before we were through with our BBQ sandwiches and beer. We headed back over to Pit Row as all drivers are required to take at least an hour break during test days.
Thankfully, (or luckily) we managed to see Patrick as he stepped out of his trailer. He is a genuinely nice guy. The picture above was taken very quickly as he was heading somewhere on a scooter shortly after. He took the time to chat with my dad for a few minutes though and I was left in awe that I’d just met McDreamy.
This is where the story gets interesting.
I tweeted about meeting him (in a very 14 year old giggly girl manner):
So….I just met Patrick Dempsey. SQUEEEE.
— Lauren Hale (@unxpctdblessing) June 14, 2012
My phone barely had any power left but I received this response:
@unxpctdblessing Saw ur tweet re: Patrick (awesome, isn’t he?!) BUT my BFF suffers from PPD & PP psychosis. Reading website, linking her!!
— Erin (@lainey_vb131) June 14, 2012
So you see – Dempsey has this knack for saving lives and playing the hero without even trying.
@lainey_vb131 participated in #ppdchat the following week and still follows the chat, finding support with us even though she herself doesn’t suffer from Postpartum Depression.
When you do something you truly love, everything in your life is touched by it and nothing you do escapes without somehow translating into your primary function in life. Things like this prove again to me that I’m meant to help others with their journey through Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders. I’ve been struggling a bit with that but it’s what’s in my heart and what will always be in my heart. Just like racing is what’s in Patrick’s. Well, that, and heroically saving lives. Even when he doesn’t realize he’s doing so.
Thank you Patrick, for taking just a few seconds to say hi to me and agreeing to a quick picture. Because of your graciousness, another mom found my blog and the community surrounding it –so did her best friend– and now they are no longer alone. You rock.