Kemi Alli considers biking the 500-mile Anchor House Ride for Runaways one of the most difficult things she has ever done.
“The hardest thing was giving birth to my son, The second hardest thing was doing a medical residency in pediatrics with very sick children. After those challenges, this is right up there,” she said.
Alli, a pediatrician and the chief medical officer of the Henry J. Austin Health Center in Trenton, is a new participant in the week-long Ride for Runaways. But she is no stranger to Anchor House, the nonprofit that provides shelter and other services to abused, neglected and runaway kids and teens. She has known about Anchor House for about 16 years.
About two years ago she learned that her friend Mereides Delgado worked for Anchor House. Delgado told her about the struggles teens and young adults served by Anchor House have getting health care.
Henry J. Austin offers comprehensive care, from primary care to mental and behavioral health services to dentistry, a lab and a pharmacy, all in one location.
“We established a system for young adults who need care,” Alli said. “We help them get insurance if they don’t have it already. A lot of them have Medicaid. It takes 25 to 30 days to get enrolled, but we treat them if they don’t have it yet. If Anchor House calls because a young adult needs an exam, we can get them in the next day. A lot of primary care physicians work a week or two out. The system works pretty well.”
Alli, a Franklin Park resident, also heard about the Ride for Runaways from Delgado. The ride raises more than a third of the funds to keep the doors open at Anchor House each year.
“I’d never heard about the ride until then, but my husband and I decided to give it a try because it is such a good cause,” Alli said. “My husband has been biking for about a year and a half, but he has never done and event like this. I’d hadn’t really been riding at all, except for rides in the park with my son. That was basically it.”
“I’ve been enjoying the week, but it’s been really hard,” she said.
On day four of the Ride for Runaways, the cyclists biked 75.7 miles from Wellsboro, Pa. to Williamsport, enjoying lots of downhills and scenic views of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.They also spotted a few black bears along the way.
On Thursday, the cyclists will pedal 80 miles from Williamsport to Hazleton, Pa. for the longest journey on the seven-day trip. At the ride banquet on Thursday night, the cyclists will learn how much money they have raised for Anchor House so far.
For more information about Anchor House or to make a donation, visit www.anchorhouseride.org, where you can also make online donations in a cyclist’s name. Donations can also be sent to the Anchor House Foundation, P.O. Box 2357, Trenton, NJ 08607-2357.