October 19, 2018

NEW YORK – Friends of Karen, an organization that supports critically-ill children and their families, will host a 40th anniversary gala to celebrate the families they have helped over the years, their supporters, donors, and staff on Friday, November 2nd at Chelsea Piers in New York City. CNN anchor John Berman will host the event. Among those being honored are philanthropists and longtime supporters Sharon and Jonas Weiner, humanitarian champion Steve Tenedios of Café Metro and Fresh&Co, and veteran Friends of Karen social worker Rhonda Ryan, LMSW.

Friends of Karen believes that no family should face their child’s life-threatening illness alone. It is the only organization in the New York Tri-State area that provides comprehensive support, at no cost, to families caring for a child battling cancer or another life-threatening illness. The organization helps families cope with their child's illness from diagnosis through treatment.

“I’m honored to be part of such a special night,” said John Berman. “Friends of Karen’s impact is evident in their holistic approach to care. The organization works as an entire support system for the families they serve and I’m delighted to help raise awareness of this incredible organization that is dedicated to changing lives in our local community.”

Friends of Karen works to ensure families with a sick child can continue to function as normally as possible – from direct payment of medical and everyday living expenses to targeted sibling support programs that help siblings better understand and cope with the changes in their lives as a result of their brother’s or sister’s critical illness.

“We are thrilled to celebrate forty years of bringing help, hope and support to over 15,000 children in the Tri-State area. With the support of our gracious donors and devoted staff, we will continue to provide families with day-to-day necessities so that they can focus on what really matters: their children,” said Judith Factor, Executive Director of Friends of Karen.

Donations and support from individuals and corporations are essential to Friends of Karen and allows the organization to provide each family with a personalized approach unique to them. Friends of Karen encourages volunteerism through holiday food drives, back-to-school collections, birthday gifts for the children, participation in walks and runs, in-kind donations, and more.  For more information on Friends of Karen, please visit  

About Friends of Karen

Friends of Karen is a non-profit organization that provides one-on-one support to children with cancer or a life-threatening illness, and their families, throughout their health crisis. Friends of Karen serves more than 600 families annually living in the New York tri-state region and offers its lifeline of support services at no cost to them, so they have more time for what's most important: each other. Friends of Karen has received a four-star rating for nine years from Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates the financial efficiency and responsibility of over 9,000 U.S. charities. Friends of Karen also meets the 20 Standards of Charity Accountability of the BBB of Metropolitan New York.