Karen Elaine Magee Pape

Karen passed away peacefully at home on Saturday June 2, 2018. Daughter of the late Brian and Elaine Magee. Mother of Sarah, Aaron (Lisa Richardson), and loving Nana to Daniela and Jack. Much-loved sister of Brian (Susan) Magee, Ivan Magee and the late Judy (Normand) Baril. Beloved former spouse of Paul Pape. Proud aunt of Brendan, Diana & Charles. Karen was a pillar of strength for her family with an enormous heart.

A graduate of Havergal College, McGill University and the University of Toronto Medical School, Karen was a neonatologist at The Hospital for Sick Children, the Director of the Neonatal Follow - Up Program and the President of the Medical Staff. Widely published, she was instrumental in the development of neonatal ultra sound brain scanning now used in intensive care units around the world. After leaving HSC, Karen became a pioneer in the field of neuroplasticity in children with early brain and nerve injuries. She was a tireless advocate for a revolution in the treatment for children with cerebral palsy. Karen captured this work in her recently published book, The Boy Who Could Run But Not Walk.

She was a rebel with a cause who took no prisoners nor suffered fools. Karen took the road less travelled by and that made all the difference to thousands of her patients and their families. To the end, Karen was still thinking of ways to advocate for improving the treatments available for children with early brain and nerve injuries. She did not go gentle into that good night. In the weeks before her death, Karen endowed a foundation to provide funds to continue her work in this field.

Her family would like to thank Wing Lam and Pia Stampe for their support.
There will be a celebration of Karen’s life on Tuesday June 12, 2018 at The Rosedale Golf Club from 4 to 7pm. In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to consider a donation to Karen’s foundation.

Memories & Condolences


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52 entries.
Suzanne Davis Bombria
I first met Karen at an NDT Instructor Meeting. I fell in love with her positive message of hope, and her amazing ability to think outside of the box and not accept the 'status quo'. In addition to being a therapist I am also the mother of a child with cerebral palsy and Karen inspired me to do even more for my son and the children I worked with. Karen was a brilliant light and a tireless advocate for the children. Karen's legacy will live on. I share her name and her message whenever I am teaching. This is a quote from one of the therapists that I introduced to her book. "Just reading her book makes me want to meet this inspiring woman. She gives hope from page 1. I quote her when I speak with some parents!" She will be terribly missed by so many. To her family, thank you for sharing her with the rest of us. It was a great joy to know her, and to share her love and enthusiasm.
Assosiation for Conductive Education of North America
The Association for Conductive Education in North America (ACENA) was saddened to hear of Karen's passing. Karen had an affinity for the many children who participated in our programs throughout North America. She kindly gave her time to our research committee in helping us better explore approaches to conductive education. Her passion, keen mind and generosity to share made a difference to our efforts. On behalf of our Board, centers and members, and the hundreds of children whom we serve, we send our sincere condolences. Karen will be missed, and we shall never forget her.
Vanda and Richard Roseboom
Deeply saddened by the loss of such a brilliant and passionate women. You had a profound impact on our lives Karen and we honour you.
Karen 'Krash' Orlando
Karen was an angel on this earth…not a quiet one, but one who helped so many people lead a better life. Her commitment, dedication and beliefs transformed many peoples’ lives. She helped me believe that I could help CP and brachial plexus affected people incorporating her philosophy and techniques and ultimately I became a better therapist by incorporating her work. I am honoured that she included me in a piece of her wonderful piece of work that she documented in her book. She did everything her way…always called a spade a spade. That wasn’t a bad thing. It made her patients work harder so they could show her that they could get results…and they did. Karen was always feisty, never accepted a problem as a problem. It could be overcome with a lot of hard work that she emphasized with her patients. Karen never gave in. She fought every step of her final journey, refusing to use sticks or a walker when offered. Her tenacity and beliefs even in her own failing physical condition always were her driving force. She is a person I will never forget. I will always try to be like Karen. At least the name is helpful! I will continue to use her brilliant philosophy and beliefs to make other lives better as she did so well. May others learn from her. She has left an amazing legacy, which will help anyone who is experiencing such neurological problems. They can be conquered as she says clearly in her book, ‘The boy who could run, but not walk’. We will all miss her dearly. May she rest in peace.
Bill, Cheryl & Chad Glendening
So sad to hear about Dr. Pape’s passing. We met her 25 years ago when she forever changed our son's life and ours. We are forever grateful to have worked with her. The world has lost a truly special person.
Sandy Lemm
A force. A gem. A game changer. Honoured to have known you, Karen.
Dede and Dick Milone
To all of Karen's Family, please accept our deepest sympathy. We have come to know Karen first through our mutual residence at Lost Tree Village in Florida. It was only after that, as a physician myself, that I came to learn of Karen's exceptional medical talent, expertise, and truly world-wide renown in the care of pediatric neurological conditions, particularly CP. When I informed a mutual colleague about her death, someone who had worked closely with her in the field of CP, he commented, "Karen was a wonderful colleague who saw beyond the diagnosis to the child and the family. Her understanding of conditions such as CP were years ahead of the pace of the field". He went on to add, touchingly, "she may have a neck ache in heaven with the number of jewels in her crown". How well said, and how true. It can also be said of Karen, and it is reflected in a number of the entries here, she was so "down to earth", and not at all taken with her own importance as a physician, researcher, educator, writer, innovator, and so many other talents. Few people leave such an indelible mark in this world, and please know how much, and how sincerely she will be missed my by so many of us.
Leslie McKibben
Thank you Karen!! The passion you had in making kids with neurological compromise meet their maximal potentials was outstanding. Your ability to share your amazing outlook on life, both professionally and personally, was terrific and helped many therapists become better people. I am honored that you saw something in me that I did not know was there and allowed me to gain wisdom from you, to teach with you. On a personal note - thank you for introducing me to many wonderful people in your life- Sarah and Aaron, your dad and Wing (who I miss dearly!) I will smile when I think about you and not be sad. I love you my friend and your legacy will never end in the therapy community.
Amanda Gallimore, Robyn Vander Vennen and Davis Vander Vennen
It saddened us greatly to hear of Dr. Pape's passing this past weekend. Our son, Davis, was born last July, non-responsive and seizing. He had suffered an hypoxic episode during labour, which resulted in severe brain damage. The first month in hospital was a nightmare of bleak prognoses. And then we met Dr. Pape. She shone a bright light of hope into our darkest moments. She gave us our fight back, the greatest gift anyone can give to new special needs parents. Over the months, Dr. Pape was kind enough to keep up-to-date on Davis and email us suggestions and opinions towards his care. I have every email she wrote and often read them back if I need a little kick of inspiration. We are beyond grateful for her care and were so honoured to have met her. We will forever be thankful for her guidance and expertise.
Rhona Feldt-Stein
I have had the honour and the privilege of knowing and working with Karen for over 30 years. She was a mentor, a colleague and a friend who constantly challenged me to be a better therapist, from our days at Sick Kids, at the Magee Clinic and to the present. I am devastated by her loss. Karen's knowledge, her tenacity, her vigor and yet her softer side of caring and sharing, made the world, those she worked with and treated all the better for it. She made me a better person and certainly a better therapist (who was forced to think 'outside the box') and I am truly grateful for doing so. She honoured me by asking me for feedback and input into her book, The Boy Who Could Run but Not Walk, something I will always cherish. Our love of dogs was a shared kinship. Karen's passion, research, need to make the world a better place for challenged children and huge intelligence is an enormous loss. May her memory, drive, compassion and kind heart be an inspiration to her family and those who knew her.
Christine Rouse
Dr. Karen Pape was a wonderful person who dedicated her life to people with cerebral palsy. She definitely changed my life. I worked with her a lot in the swimming pool which helped me walked, talked, and feed myself better. She was a wonderful person who will truly be missed.
The Denekas Family
Please accept our deepest sympathy. We were very saddened to learn of Dr. Pape’s passing, and appreciate this opportunity to share our thoughts with her family, loved ones, friends and co-workers. Even though it is difficult to find the words at a time like this, hopefully it will help those dearest to Dr. Pape as they journey through this time of loss. Twenty-five years ago our family became acquainted with Dr. Pape through our daughter, Laura’s, occupational therapist. Laura was born with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. We initially began using Dr. Pape’s Stim program. When Laura was four years old, Dr. Pape invited her, myself and our therapist, to travel to Toronto from our home in northwest Iowa, USA. We were all a part of the video that Dr. Pape produced. It shared about the Stim program and featured several children who were currently using it. That whole experience was truly a priceless gift which allowed us to personally meet the amazing woman whose life was centered on helping people like our daughter. We will be forever grateful for that opportunity, and for the life-long dedication of this incredible woman who sincerely cared about the precious lives of those who were living with cerebral palsy – even a spunky little girl from a small town in Iowa. I doubt you can imagine the sheer joy we felt when Dr. Pape called to visit with both Laura and myself shortly after her recent book was released! We couldn’t believe this prestigious woman was contacting us! Her pure commitment to helping others was again being reflected in the genuine talks we shared, so many years after our initial contact. She still wanted to know how Laura was doing, she graciously acknowledged the wonderful life Laura is living, and she enthusiastically told us about her latest research. She kindly sent each of us an autographed copy of her book and encouraged Laura to pursue the new avenues she wrote about. We were so deeply humbled by Dr. Pape’s unending determination and passion to “help” and to “serve”. We will forever hold a special place in our hearts for Karen Pape. Her legacy will live on through many grateful recipients of her wisdom and love. With love and prayers, The Denekas Family
Tzuriel Frankenthal
I am really saddened by the news. Karen was a true voice and pioneer in the CP community. I met Karen about 25 years ago as a patient at the beginning of my journey. Her intelligence, coupled with her kindness and strength and passion was and is a rare and special combination not easily found in this world. She will be greatly missed! She was so ahead of her time. In the world of CP and Neurorehab/Neuroplasticity, she not only talked the talk but she walked the walk. RIP Karen. My condolences to her family and loved ones. Tzuriel Frankenthal, Beverly Hills, California
Gilli Sinclair
We are all so sorry for your massive loss. Karen was so kind, so compassionate, so tough and so resilient. Its a sad loss for you all and the rest of the world. She will be sorely missed.
Mindy Silva
I am beyond sad that we have lost such an amazing lady, humbled by her life's work and ever inspired by her mission. I am so grateful that I had an opportunity to know her and share in the tiniest part of her great story. She certainly did not go quietly and I continue to be in awe of her endless passion and look forward to seeing where the foundation she set up leads us all to.
Deb Discenza
I remember when Karen reached out to me years ago via LinkedIN. I run the NICU Pros list, Early Intervention Pros list and more and she knew instantly that we needed to talk as she prepared to publish her book "The Boy Who Could Run But Not Walk." We talked by phone and there was an instant connection. I was excited to hear about her background, her work and her book. We worked on ways to help get it out there and we did. At the time I quietly noted to Karen my former 30-week preemie, then 11 years old had always had some issues with running and with walking and that I had always quietly asked doctors if this wasn't more than just low muscle tone and later more than gross motor delays and still later more than just Developmental Motor Coordination Disorder. Little did I know that I would be needing Karen's help when Becky was diagnosed officially at 13.5 years old. My frustration was audible to Karen as we talked by phone that winter. This rebel, this "difficult" person in the field of CP and baby brain science was nothing but straightforward, understanding and respectful as I poured out my rage at the establishment in this field and how people didn't seem to truly get that this was a catastrophic mess in my mind. She helped me understand how things had played out medically and where the mistakes likely happened. She also confirmed and connected the dots with me that my daughter's "slight curvature in the spine" as told me months early by the baffled pediatrician was consistent with the CP. She gave me some ideas of where to start. After 6 months of typical PT, appointments and other interventions that burnt out my daughter and myself, we stopped everything and took account of where we were. And this was only in the first year of diagnosis so I could only imagine what other families before us had done to keep their minds straight and focused. After the new year I contacted Karen again noting that we were definitely struggling with this and wondered if she had other thoughts. We talked, she said it was time to go see Pia Stampe in New York and get a CP Intensive. A short time afterward we spent a long weekend in New York and Pia was truly phenomenal. Becky came away walking better, running better and with a confidence and excitement that floored my husband and myself. She looked at me and said, "Thank you." Yes, my TEENAGER! Prior to leaving Pia that last day, she took a video of Becky and myself to send to Karen who was by now very sick. To hear my daughter speak to Karen with such awe and gratitude was amazing. In a few days she got the theory, she understood what Karen had been trying to teach medical and therapeutic professionals for a long time. And she was living proof that it worked. I finally got to meet Karen a month ago in Toronto. I got to give her a hug, say thank you in person. I also handed her a note . . . from my Becky. It totally moved her. It was then that we discussed the impending foundation. While I know Karen would have loved to see this come together, I know she left this in very, very capable hands. She will be missed but she will always be remembered, always be thanked for being "difficult" for being that rebel. For every infant, child, teen and adult that has received help from her over the years is now her ongoing living legacy alongside her own family. We carry it forward for her. Thank you, Karen. Thank you on behalf of the thousands of families you have helped over the years including mine. With Love & Gratitude, Deb Discenza PreemieWorld
Trish Martin
There are no words that can express the loss to her family, friends and the world. Karen Pape was an amazing physician, clinician, inventor, researcher, author, and educator. She was a pioneer with thoughts, ideas and programs no one had even imagined. She always loved to talk about viewing the world from different paradigms (old woman/ young woman)? And was open to share her thoughts and knowledge with all. What a loss! If worth is partially determined by ones family and friends, Karen was truly blessed. She loved her children and Wing and Pia were incredible supports and companions. My heart breaks for you all. I toast the outstanding life Karen lived... by her own rules... and consider her a mentor and friend. Cheers and wishes for an ongoing legacy to a life well-lived. Trish
Shoshana and Family
It has meant so much to me to have had Karen in my life and as part of my daughter's team. So much of what we work on and do is thanks to Karen. She educated me and guided me to learn how to assess the therapy we are doing and think about what to work on next and how. Not, only that, but the advice and stories have been so valuable in how I live my life. Karen was such a special person. We love and miss her.
Beverly (Billi) Cusick, PT, MS, NDT, COF/BOC
A real soldier has fallen. Karen devoted most of her professional life to striving to understand and to improve the lives of children with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities. I celebrate her long life of dedication. With heartfelt love and gratitude and respect, Karen, for the time we spent exchanging our knowledge and ideas and your wine, I wish you a peaceful, joyful journey. Your friend, Billi Cusick
Felicia Flewelling
I'm broken. Dr. Pape personally responded to me after having questions about my daughter, then 5 years old, with right sided hemiplegia. I pray her legacy lives on and that she continues to fuel others to continue to research neuroplasticity & many other findings she has sparked. May you rest in peace, Dr. Pape. I pray that your family finds peace in knowing you are in a beautiful place & that your legacy will live on. You are now our angel...well, you've always been.