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  • Friends of Karen, North Salem, NY
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With your help

Friends of Karen is a lifeline of support for families in the NY Tri-State area.

Since 1978, Friends of Karen has guided families caring for a child with a life threatening illness through their difficult journey. We have helped families navigate the emotional and financial confusion that lies ahead.

What's New

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 Spotlight

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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of every dollar supports children and families


below poverty line family income


children helped since our founding in 1978


Families Supported in October

Become a Volunteer

Our volunteers come in all sizes: children, teens, young professionals, retirees, and all ages in between. We even have multi-generational families who volunteer! We’ll match your time and talents to programs, projects and needs that enable Friends of Karen to support families.


We are proud to have the support and confidence of our corporate partners. Their generosity strengthens our ability to be a lifeline to our families.