Category: dei-actions

A MOTHER’S STORY: Finding Help and Understanding

Finest is a 20-year-old college student being treated for a recurrence of Synovial Sarcoma, a soft tissue tumor, that first occurred when he was 15 years old. His mother Melissa was interviewed about how Friends of Karen has helped her, Finest and his 18-year-old brother Malik.

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Siblings Day, April 10, 2024

Each year on April 10th, National Siblings Day, we celebrate the very special bond of support, friendship and love shared between siblings. Sibling bonds are often life-long relationships. Whether they grow old and gray together or are sadly separated by illness or death, they are tied together by something difficult to explain. They are knitted together; entwined by love and

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Running towards better days

Xavier is a 17-year-old from Westchester County, NY who is on maintenance treatment for T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He lives with his mother Antheya and his 15-year-old brother Zach and shares how Friends of Karen helped him and his family.

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Picking up the pieces after a loss

Long Island couple Liz and Theodore attended the Living Alongside Grief Retreat in April 2023 to address the impact of losing their only son Jeyden one year ago. The Retreat is a new family bereavement education program on the range of experiences that grieving family members may go through. Jeyden was 13 when he was diagnosed and treated for an Astrocytoma brain tumor and passed away at age 14. Liz shares how her Friends of Karen social worker Marla and the Family Support Program helped, and continue to help, her family.

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“The Invisible String”

“The Invisible String” written by Patrice Karst is one of the most well loved books in our bag of tricks. This best selling picture book tells the story of unbreakable connections between loved ones.
Click link to read a poem compiled with the words of Friends of Karen children, inspired by “The Invisible String” and the season of love. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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A father’s story: Embracing Support When Things Got Tough

Celeste is 3 and 1/2-years-old and in the maintenance phase of treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia that was diagnosed in October 2022. Her father Rafael shares how he and his wife Gwen coped through Friends of Karen’s support. “Everything was going well for us. We were expecting a new baby and we decided to send Celeste temporarily to my parents’

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The unbreakable bond of sisters

When Christa was being treated for Leukemia, she and her beloved sister Skyla participated in Friends of Karen’s Sibling Support Program. Her mother Georgette, thinking it was a stomach bug, brought Christa to see the doctor. He told mom that Christa’s blood count was low. In 2021 five-year-old Christa began to complain of frequent stomach aches. Her mother Georgette, thinking

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Because of You

In 45 years of service to the New York metro area community, Friends of Karen has demonstrated time and again a special way of caring. The legacy of kindness and compassion that our founder Sheila Petersen exemplified when she brought a quality of life to a gravely ill teen, Karen MacInnes, and her family so many years ago has been replicated thousands of times.

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Beautiful Bella and Linda – Making Spirits Bright

Children (and their families) battling serious illnesses like cancer are often described as “warriors’ ‘ and “fighters” conjuring up images of slaying dragons and knockouts in a boxing ring. Though these are certainly powerful and appropriate metaphors for the big, bold and resilient people we meet at Friends of Karen, equally inspiring are those who radiate a quiet beauty- selfless

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Katonah Connect, The Meaningful Connections Issue November / December 2023

When you walk up to the doors of Friends of Karen headquarters in North Salem, the first thing you might notice is their walkway – a “path of compassion” filled with several hundred dedicated bricks featuring loving messages and tributes from supporters. It demonstrates how this local organization has changed the lives of thousands by providing customized support for over 550 sick children and their families annually. Friends of Karen began in 1978 by Sheila Petersen, a friend of the MacInnes family whose 16-year-old daughter Karen was suffering from a rare genetic disorder.

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Sibling Grief Month

“The loss of a brother or sister is not small, unimportant or invisible.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  I call sibling loss the ‘loss of a lifetime,’ because who else do we expect to have relationships with that stretch our entire lives?” – Lynn Shattuck Worldwide Bereaved Siblings Month is an annual designation observed in November. The death of

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Thank You

We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you who celebrated our Friends of Karen 45th Anniversary Gala. It is your generosity and commitment that allows us to continue our vital mission. Your presence and support truly made the evening a memorable one! Your dedication to our mission helps us to continue to provide financial,

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Meet Cameron and Brinley

Brinley, age 9 and her sister Cameron, age 6, met with Friends of Karen Creative Arts Therapist Jane and created  “I am” posters. The “I am” posters helped to discuss who they are and if the cancer diagnosed changed any of these things. They agree they are still themselves despite all the changes happening in their lives and but sometimes

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How to Talk With Kids About Tragedies & Other Traumatic News Events

Television and newspapers today are filled with headlines about the tragic conflict with Israel and Palestine, and the brutal war between Ukraine and Russia.  In this very difficult time, children want to know what’s going on in the world and may be asking you questions about what they have heard discussed or seen in the media.  The American Academy of

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