White Plains Residents Ride 'Journey of the Heart' for Sick Children

They were among 24 volunteers who raised a total of $125,000 for children with cancer or another life-threatening illness.

Each inspired by a critically-ill child, 24 volunteers mounted their bikes on the first weekend of fall and rode 135 miles for Friends of Karen, a children's charity organization. 

Volunteers, who included Gary and Gwen Salmo (New Rochelle), Jan Corning (Yorktown Heights), Vinny Liscio (Somers), Karen Merritt (Somers), Palma Settimi (Katonah), Jeffrey Coleman (Ossining), Steve Roberts (South Salem), Barbara Krajewski (White Plains), Gina Lodolini (Bedford Hills) raised $125,000 for the organization through the "Journey of the Heart" event. 

The 8th annual event was a three-day bike tour that covered the back roads of Orange and Dutchess counties as well as West Point and Storm King Art Center.

"September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, but cancer has no calendar or age boundaries," said 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."

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Friends of Karen, with its Westchester headquarters in Purdys, provides emotional, financial and advocacy support to children with cancer or another life-threatening illness and their family, from diagnosis through treatment. Founded in 1978, it has touched the lives of more than 11,800 children, according to the company. 

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

"The smiling faces of the children and their families which show their appreciation for the assistant they receive from Friends of Karen during life’s most harrowing experience," Alan Dubow said. "With every ounce of energy expended and every dollar raised, I know our efforts are truly valuable."

GwenSalmo@FriendsOfKaren.org To find out more about Friends of Karen, visit

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