Who was Karen?

The Karen of Karen’s Closet was Karen Mary DeCisero, graduate of Leominster High School, class of 1998. She was born in 1977 with a hole in her heart that required major surgery and a case of Down syndrome that was severe enough that her doctors thought she might never walk. They very well might have thought that but, that was not who she was or what she could become.

After that harrowing beginning, Karen embarked on what would be her remarkable life. And it was the Leominster school district that took her in and molded her and loved her to the point that she could and would experience a life that truly had few parallels. She would go on to graduate high school, have a job, travel the world, live on her own and accumulated more friends and acquaintances than most could in a couple of lifetimes. Karen was not someone to feel sorry for; she was a woman to be admired.

Unfortunately, the full impact of Karen’s life would only be realized once she had left us. As the hundreds of people that expressed to her family in an outpouring so profound it left them stunned, and ultimately impressed. All of which could not or would not have occurred if she had not landed in this school system, with this set of caring teaching professionals and their wise administrators. They provided her with the confidence and caring attention that allowed her to grow and become the person she was. It was this educational environment and its willingness to grow and expand with her, that was so critical to her life’s success. It did not come without its struggles, but with every speed bump and pothole, someone in this system believed in her and what she could accomplish, not the roadblock or her “handicap.” And, after she graduated, one of those wise administrators was even able to find her a place for her to be employed in the very school from which she came. That opportunity let her enter the world of adulthood with that same support that had treated her so well in her adolescence. Her family feels nothing but an overwhelming sense of gratitude to these educators and deepening feeling that it is time to give back (and probably always will).

This endeavor is her family and many friends attempt to keep her spirit alive and give something back to the community that gave her so much.

If Karen’s life could be summed up in one quote, as if any life could be, it would be something that if you were lucky enough to have ever met her, you more than likely heard her say:

“I love my life!”

And without the constant care and supervision that the Leominster school district provided, we all have wondered if it would have been even remotely possible.

Board of Directors

Donna GauthierPam DeCiseroRoger Rosbury
Carl GauthierPhil DeCiseroLinda Salvatelli
Annmarie SargentColleen LeclairRobert Salvatelli
Michael DeCiseroJillean PriceCindy Tresaloni
Kevin NotaroKen RickerDennis Rosa
Jean Rosbury