This year’s Friends of Karen gala will be a virtual celebration, taking place on Oct. 21.
Supporting critically ill children and the families, the organization has announced CNN anchor John Berman will host the event.
This year’s event will honor ill honor the “remarkable resilience of Friends of Karen’s ill children and their families,” along with Nancy Mariano, director of corporate partnership and Long Island regional director for more than 19 years, according to a news release from the organization.
The event will also launch the Nancy Mariano Fund at Friends of Karen,” established in memory of her son Jason, who for seven years brought so much love to many,” according to the news release.
Nancy Mariano joined Friends of Karen in 2001 after spending 26 years with Special Olympics Suffolk County. In addition to leading the opening of Friends of Karen’s Port Jefferson office, she formed the Long Island advisory board, comprising business leaders and health professionals from across Long Island. Since its inception, it has served as the model for the New York City advisory board which also assists in raising funds and awareness for Friends of Karen in Manhattan and the boroughs.
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.
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 and to register for the virtual gala, click here.