Supporting Friends of Karen

Lisa M. Nousek earned her juris doctor from the University of Virginia Law School in 2005 and spent the next year clerking for a federal judge. In 2006, she joined Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, where she is a partner focusing on complex civil litigation, including product liability cases. Outside of her professional responsibilities, Lisa M. Nousek contributes her time and resources to several charitable endeavors, including Friends of Karen.

Friends of Karen started in 1978 after Karen MacInnes was diagnosed with Lafora’s disease, a rare genetic disorder. Her family wanted to take the 16-year-old girl home to spend her last months surrounded by friends and family. Sheila Peterson, a family friend, initiated a neighborhood fundraiser to help defray the cost of Karen’s care. After she passed, Karen’s family persuaded Ms. Peterson to continue the fundraising efforts to support other families in the same situation.

Friends of Karen is the only organization based in the New York City metropolitan area that provides a comprehensive range of services at no cost to families caring for children diagnosed with life-threatening conditions. The organization has supported more than 5,500 children and their families and works with 22 of the major hospitals in the New York metropolitan area to provide emotional support, financial assistance, and advocacy. Emotional support includes guidance, bereavement counseling, and a sibling support program. Financial assistance consists of direct payment of expenses not covered by insurance as well as basic living expenses for families whose parents stop working to care for their children. Advocacy action ensures that families have access to benefits available from the government, pro bono legal counsel, and special educational requirements.

Friends of Karen also sponsors a Holiday Adopt-A-Family program to help brighten Christmas and Hanukkah and distributes birthday gifts to sick children and their siblings.

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