The riders prepare to begin a 100-mile journey through northeast Illinois. (Provided photo)
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Riders for Jackie’s Warriors raise more than $6,000 for dementia research 

The second “Warrior Ride” to support the Jackie’s Warriors Foundation began bright and early on June 7. The biggest obstacle the riders faced was not the distance, but the wind.

Jackie’s Warriors started in 2022 to honor Jackie Frangella. Jackie’s husband, Art Frangella, and son, Brian Frangella, witnessed Jackie’s struggles with dementia and decided to start an organization to help others with the same debilitating syndrome. Jackie died in 2022 after suffering from dementia for five years.

This year, the Warrior Ride was a one-day 100-mile trek starting from Breidert Green Park in Frankfort. It followed the Old Plank Trail, I&M Canal, and various country roads before reaching the final destination, a campground in Sublette.

From left: Greg Castady, Brian Shores, Meghan Sorensen, Chris Dedo, Karen Cordes and Dana Noble prepare to relax at the end of the 100-mile trek. (Provided photo)
From left: Greg Castady, Brian Shores, Meghan Sorensen, Chris Dedo, Karen Cordes and Dana Noble prepare to relax at the end of the 100-mile trek. (Provided photo)

Last year’s ride was 130 miles and took two days.

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Four riders from Homewood took the trip: Dana Noble, Chris Dedo, Greg Castady and Brian Shores. Megan Sorensen, a former resident of Homewood who now lives in Mokena, and Karen Cordes from Libertyville, also made the journey this year.

“We raised more than $3,000 with three riders last year,” Nate Olson, a co-founder of Jackie’s Warriors said. “We thought we could maybe raise $6,000 with six riders. I thought it was a lofty goal, but we ended up raising $6,120.”

The ride’s progress was broadcast live on the foundation’s Facebook page, allowing supporters to follow along and cheer for the riders as they went. 

“The trails really weren’t too bad because they’re sheltered by trees,” Olson said. “I think we had about 15 to 20 mile-per-hour sustained northwest winds with gusts between 30 and 40 MPH. When they got out on the country roads, it was really tough going. There were a few branches that had to be moved out of the way on the trails, but no major breakdowns or anything like that.” 

After taking time to hydrate and rest, some of the riders headed back home, while others spent the night at the campground. All of the riders transported their bikes back by vehicle. Olson said that for obvious reasons, nobody was willing to take advantage of the tailwinds and immediately ride their bikes back home. 

“I want to give a huge ‘thank you’ to all the riders and those who support us monetarily,” said Olson.

If anybody is willing to ride again next year, Olson said they will plan the trip again. They are considering a relay-style ride that will allow more people to participate without having to pedal the entire 100 miles. 

According to the World Health Organization, dementia “can be caused by a number of diseases which over time destroy nerve cells and damage the brain, typically leading to deterioration in cognitive function (i.e. the ability to process thought) beyond what might be expected from the usual consequences of biological aging.”

For more information, visit Jackie’s Warriors Foundation Facebook page. Those interested in contributing to the cause can donate here.

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