A to Z Blogging Challenge

K is for Karen


Karen Killilea* was born in 1940. Being premature, she developed cerebral palsy as an infant. In the 40’s doctors advised parents to institutionalize their children. Karen’s parents refused to accept that as the right thing to do for their daughter. They searched until they found a doctor who recommended something unheard of at that time- physical therapy. They learned to do it at home and took care of Karen themselves. Because of her parents’ commitment to giving her a chance at a better life and years of hard work, Karen was able to have that life. She beat the odds and all expectations that people had of children with cerebral palsy at that time.

Karen, written by Marie Killilea, influenced the way I looked at people with disabilities. Throughout my childhood I had limited experiences with people who were different than I was and most of my knowledge came from reading. This book had a major impact on how I viewed other people. Karen was a real person. And she was an inspiration. Her mother, Marie, made an impact too. I was raised by a mother who loved me and did everything she could for me, without spoiling me. I didn’t require the level of care and time and energy that Marie put into raising Karen but I knew that if I did, my own mom would do it.

If Karen was born much later, her story would have been vastly different. But for a child growing up in the 1940’s, her story is inspirational.

“I can walk, I can talk. I can read. I can write. I can do anything.” -Karen


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Stay safe,


*My theme is Female Fictional Characters but I’m making an exception for Karen.

7 thoughts on “K is for Karen

  1. That’s really cool. I’ve never heard of this book or person. Thanks for posting about it.

    I hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.

    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

    Liked by 1 person

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