On September 21, 22 riders will mount their bikes and pedal off for a weekend in the late-summer countryside. But here’s the difference: each rider’s inspiration is a critically-ill child. This is the 8th Annual Journey of the Heart, a three-day 150-mile bike tour that covers back roads of Orange and Dutchess counties as well as West Point and Storm King Art Center. It’s organized by Friends of Karen, a charity that provides emotional, financial and advocacy support to families in the Metro New York region caring for a child with a life-threatening illness.
“September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, but cancer has no calendar or age boundaries,” says Judith Factor, Executive Director of Friends of Karen. “Right now we are helping to sustain over 500 children and their families annually during the most difficult and frightening time of their lives. No family should have to face cancer alone.”
Each Journey of the Heart rider commits to at least a $2,500 sponsorship and is assigned a Friends of Karen sick child, including a photo and some background information. The child’s battle with cancer or another critical illness can motivate the rider to keep going when the going gets tough. Lawyer Alan Dubow explains why he participates: “The smiling faces of the children and their families which show their appreciation for the assistance they receive from Friends of Karen during life’s most harrowing experience. With every ounce of energy expended and every dollar raised, I know our efforts are truly valuable.”
Last year’s Journey of the Heart raised over $150,000 for Friends of Karen children and their families. Pedaling off on September 21, this year’s event has a few places left. For information, contact Gwen Salmo 914-617-4051 or GwenSalmo@FriendsOfKaren.org To find out more about Friends of Karen, visit www.FriendsOfKaren.org