Siblings Committed to Helping Others
Friends of Karen Board Member Marisa Carson-Bibens
“Thirty-two years ago, the day before my 16th birthday, our lives changed forever when my sister Erika was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at the age of 13. Our life was a rollercoaster ride for two and a half years with daily visits to the hospital for chemo treatments, checkups, and lots of visits to the emergency room.
Fortunately, our mom was introduced to Friends of Karen and all their wonderful resources. Not only did Friends of Karen assist my mom financially, but they also provided her with a supportive social worker who was able to gently guide her through the nuances associated with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis for her child.
I am happy to report that my “little” sister is now 45 years old, a cancer survivor and thriver, and founder/CEO of The Brain Bodega, an online tutoring and mentoring company which focuses on critically ill children.
As the sibling of a cancer survivor, I am inspired every day by her journey and strength. Inspiring others and being able to pay it forward have become a priority in my life. As a result, I chose to pivot my career and now work by Erika’s side as her COO and as an Academic Mentor for some of our remarkable students.
I have also come full circle, 31 years later, as a proud board member for Friends of Karen. There is no better feeling than sitting in a board meeting, or on a bike in FoK’s Journey of the Heart ride, knowing firsthand that your decisions and actions are impacting the lives of children, their siblings, and their families each and every day.”
– Marisa Carson-Bibens
Friends of Karen Sibling and Board Member