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Purdys Charity Is Lifeline For Families With Sick Kids

Maddy, right, helps her brother, Colin, select toys from a catalog to help him create his wish list for the Friends of Karen's Adopt-a-Family program.
Maddy, right, helps her brother, Colin, select toys from a catalog to help him create his wish list for the Friends of Karen's Adopt-a-Family program. Photo Credit: Friends of Karen

PURDYS, N.Y. – “The most important thing that Friends of Karen provided for us was the warmest holiday of memories that our family experienced. They sent us gifts from our children’s wish lists, allowing me to stay home with the family, baking cookies and enjoying more precious time together.”

Friends of Karen received that letter from the mother of a boy afflicted with a brain tumor.

Every day, the Purdys-based charity acts as a lifeline for families caring for a child with cancer or another life-threatening illness, by providing the emotional, financial and advocacy support, at no cost, that helps them cope with the most difficult experience imaginable. Friends of Karen meets the specific needs of each family, and each family member, to help free them of everyday concerns so they have more time to spend together.

This time of year, the group’s Adopt-A-Family Holiday Gifts for Kids program provides gifts for each Friends of Karen sick child as well as his or her siblings.

“Watching the expression of a child opening holiday gifts is unforgettable,” said Judith Factor, Friends of Karen’s executive director. “But these special moments can be so fleeting if your child is fighting for her or his life. With doctor visits, medical treatments and hospitalizations, parents don’t have the time or the mindset to shop for gifts and prepare for holiday festivities.”

The Adopt-A-Family program is an opportunity to spread the holiday spirit.

“Each of our children sends us their wish list,” said Factor. “Then we match each child with a kind-hearted ‘elf’ who purchases the items on their list. We send the gifts with ribbon, wrapping paper, and all the trimmings to the child’s parents to make a holiday of surprises and delight. We love to put smiles on children’s faces, and our children often have little reason to smile.”

To help Friends of Karen make sure there are gifts for every one of their sick children and their sisters and brothers contact Denise Tredwell at 914-617-4052 or

If you don’t have time to shop, you can make a donation: go to and click on “Holiday Gifts for Children” on the right.

Friends of Karen is a registered 501(c)(3) charity and the only organization in the tri-state area that provides a comprehensive range of services and programs to enable families caring for a child with a life-threatening illness to cope better.

Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Purdys, with other offices on Long Island and in Manhattan, Friends of Karen has touched the lives of almost 12,000 children.

Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates the financial responsibility and effectiveness of thousands of U.S. charities, gives Friends of Karen a four-star rating, its highest award.

For more information about Friends of Karen, visit or call 914-617-4040.

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