03/11/2008 at 01:30 PM EDT
He may be at home on screen at Seattle Grace Hospital, but on Tuesday Patrick Dempsey
made a special appearance at the Central Maine Medical Center, to announce plans for a new cancer center to be named in his honor.
Scheduled to open March 31, the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing was inspired by his mother, Amanda Dempsey, who fought ovarian cancer – and who is now cancer free, reports Maine's Kennebec Journal
Born in Lewiston, Maine, the Grey's Anatomy
star told assembled media that dealing with his mother's illness – and tracking down information about it – prompted his action.
"For a family to get a cancer diagnosis is devastating, and all the information out there can be overwhelming," Dempsey, 42, told reporters. "So I talked to my sister about a place where people could go for all this type of information and help. Knowledge is power."
Dempsey says his sister, Mary, who works at the hospital, will run the center.
For more information, visit www.dempseycenter.org