Friends of Karen
Since 1988, the foundation has supported Friends of Karen’s Family Support Program which provides critically-ill children and their families with financial support for basic living and illness-related expenses; advocacy assistance on issues such as social security, food stamps and
Medicaid; and emotional support. The majority of children served have cancer; 36% are from single family households and 34% of families have incomes below the poverty line. Family Support also provides birthday and holiday gifts and back-to- school supplies for the ill children and their siblings; distributes supermarket gift cards and Thanksgiving baskets to families; helps pay the cost of childcare for siblings; assists with funeral costs; and provides bereavement support.
Through the Sibling Support Program, specialists offer individualized, one-on- one support to help at-risk siblings understand and express their feelings about the illness and its impact on their lives. Long-term goals of the program have been that at least 90% of the children and families served will be stable, functioning, and better able to cope with the devastating impact of the child’s life-threatening illness.