Looking for a fun weekend, three Homewood friends decided to go out to a campsite at Woodhaven Lakes in Sublette, Illinois. To get there, they’ll bike 130 miles raising money for dementia charities.
“It just started on a whim,” said Noble. “Our wives had plans for the weekend (Aug. 10-12), so we decided to go to the campsite. One guy said let’s bike, and I said OK, I’ll bike,” and the third friend who’s a runner and didn’t even have a bike, said he’d join in. Olson will be driving the route behind them and managing the social media feed giving donors updates and commentary.
Before they left Homewood at 8 a.m. on Thursday, they’d taken some practice rides. Noble, who is a cyclist, said he was pretty sure his two buddies would be able to do 100 miles that first day. The second day will be 30 miles.
The riders are collecting donations for Jackie’s Warriors, a nonprofit started by Art Frangella, his son, Brian of Homewood, and his daughter, Tricia, after his wife, Jackie, died in April 2022. She suffered with the disease for five years.
“I had mentioned to my kids I’d like to do something to help out because we had a good experience with the hospice and it was such a terrible disease that I felt like I needed to do something,” Art said.
Over the next few months, the family worked on the necessary paperwork and Brian’s friends held the organization’s first fundraiser – a beer crawl through a Homewood neighborhood in September 2022. About 150 people took part visiting seven houses for refreshments. The event raised $12,000.
“It was really something I didn’t expect, the outpouring of support from the Homewood community, and that’s really what made it all possible. The friends and the wives of friends is what made it a worthwhile event,” Art said.
And now, this second fundraiser. Again, Frangella said he’s impressed by the generosity.
“Those guys came up with that idea on their own. It wasn’t a planned event. They got together on their own and said why don’t we do it. It kind of blew me away. It’s just unbelievable the selfless support of all the people out there,” he said. “It’s really been encouraging for me.”
The cyclists left Homewood and headed to Glenwood where they picked up the Thorn Creek Trail that would link them to the Old Plank Road. They planned to follow that into Joliet where they would ride through downtown to link up to the I&M Canal path.
“It was just supposed to be a ride to have fun, and now it’s going to be a ride to have fun and raise money at the same time,” Noble said.
Frangella said Jackie’s Warriors splits donations between Light Ways Hospice, the Dementia Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.
When he met people at the beer crawl fundraiser, Frangella said, “I found out how many people’s lives are affected by dementia. People that stopped and talked to me that their mother, or their uncle or a friend (had dementia). It took me by surprise. I knew it was a horrible disease, but I didn’t realize the widespread impact it was having on so many people.”