September 30, 2016

Friends of Karen, headquartered in North Salem, held its 12th annual Journey of the Heart Bike Tour this past weekend over the picturesque roads of northern Connecticut. Each rider was assigned a Friends of Karen child who is battling cancer or another life-threatening illness and whose family is being helped by the organization to provide inspiration. The ride was grueling, but the motivation was energizing.  One rider, Alan Dubow, explains it this way, “Why do I ride in the ‘Journey of the Heart?’ The answer is simple: 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 appreciated…I love this event, the spirit of our group and most of all, the families we are helping.”

Riders this year included members of the Somers Lions Club, Friends of Karen volunteers and staff, and even Friends of Karen families. One mother, Theresa, rode for her own daughter, Sophia, who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor at just 3 years old and whose entire family was helped by Friends of Karen. Sophia and her twin, Isabella, met up with mom during the ride to cheer her on and join the group for dinner. Theresa stated that if her daughter could go through having cancer, she could certainly push herself through the pain to do this ride for her and other children like her and their families.
What a great weekend! Thank you to all the riders whopushed themselves to the limit and raised over $150,00 to help Friends of Karen. What a feat!

Friends of Karen is the only organization in the New York Tri-State area that provides comprehensive support, at no cost, to families caring for a child battling cancer or another life-threatening illness. Its team of social workers, child life specialists and creative arts therapists ensures that each family – and each family member – receives an individualized program of emotional, financial and practical day-to-day assistance throughout their child’s illness. Friends of Karen helps relieve the family’s everyday needs and concerns to improve their ability to cope with their child’s illness from diagnosis through treatment, which can last many months or even years.

“Friends of Karen started with one child, Karen, in 1978 and since then has given life-changing help to over 14,000 children,” says Judith Factor, Friends of Karen’s Executive Director. “Our riders exemplify the compassion and hope that the Friends of Karen lifeline provides to families so they can maintain a sense of balance and stability during the most difficult time of their lives.”

Friends of Karen serves all qualified families without regard to race, religion, national origin or cultural background.  For more information, visit or call (914) 617-4040.