Friends of Karen

in Non-Profits

Friends of Karen (F.O.K.) was founded in 1978 by Sheila Petersen, a family friend of Karen MacInness, a 16 year old diagnosed with Lafora`s Disease. Sheila, respecting Karen`s parents wishes to keep Karen at home for her final months, appealed to the community and raised the necessary funds to allow her parents to care for Karen in their own home.  Currently, Friends of Karen helps families in the New York metropolitan area care for their children (aged 21 years and under) who suffer from terminal or life threatening illnesses. F.O.K. works to ensure the financial and emotional well-being of families coping with the extraordinary demands of their child`s illness. Social workers work with the families to assess the family`s needs and help families to obtain assistance from insurance plans, government programs and community agencies, while maintaining contact with the family through home and hospital visits.  Friends of Karen also provides direct financial assistance and help with needs related to the child`s illness, including: household expenses, transportation to medical treatment, in-hospital expenses such as telephone, TV, parking, and meals for the parents, childcare for siblings while the parents are with the hospitalized child, living expenses for parents who must travel to get needed treatments, funeral arrangements, bereavement support, and private counseling referrals.  Friends of Karen relies on individuals, corporations, foundations, schools, community and employee groups to contribute the needed dollars and in-kind gifts and volunteer time to give our families what they need to care for their children though their difficult illnesses.  For more information about Friends of Karen, visit or call 914.277.4547.