In 1940, when Karen Killilea was born three months premature and developed cerebral palsy, doctors encouraged her parents to put her in an institution and forget about her. At the time, her condition was considered untreatable, and institutionalization was the only recourse. But in a revolutionary act of faith and love, the Killileas never gave up hope that Karen could lead a successful life.
Written by Karen’s mother, Marie, this memoir is a profound and heartwarming personal account of a young mother’s efforts to refute the medical establishment’s dispiriting advice, and her daughter’s extraordinary triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds. Marie’s activism spread awareness of the mistreatment of disabled people in America and led to the formation of multiple foundations, including United Cerebral Palsy.
A larger-than-life story, Karen tells of a family’s courage, patience, and struggle in the face of extreme difficulty. The New York Times wrote, “You’ll want to read it most for Karen’s own words: ‘I can walk, I can talk. I can read. I can write. I can do anything.’”