WARREN, NJ - The outpouring of support and offers of help from the extended Warren community to the DeLuca family has been enormous. Here is a way to help. 

This past September, Joanne DeLuca was able to spend some time at a wonderful haven called Mary's Place by the Sea in Ocean Grove. 

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The Welcome message from Mary's Place reads, " Mary's Place by the Sea provides an innovative approach to caring for women with cancer during and after treatment. We offer individual oncological massage, guided meditation, nutritional counseling, spa services, group workshops and overall support in a 6 bedroom lake front bed and breakfast located in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Since opening in May 2009, Mary's Place by the Sea, a non-profit organization, has served over 2500 women free of charge throughout the tri-state area. We invite you to learn more about our mission and look forward to supporting your needs."

Mary's Place is a respite open to women with any type of cancer. The necessity of such a place became apparent to Michele Gannon in 2009 while she was recovering from a "non-life threatening" illness while still caring for her family including three young children. She wondered, how did women manage when faced with a life-threatening illness; how did they cope with taking care of a family; where did they find the support and advice they needed? not to mention moments of peace?

Gannon shared her vision with a friend and fellow mother at her children's school, Maria Mckeon.

They moved quickly to make Mary's Place a reality. By May of 2009, Mary's Place was established as a non-profit organization, and in June the first major fund-raising event was held at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park.

Fund-raisers , large and small, continue to support Mary's Place. Fashion shows, an annual Walk-a-Thon, generous sponsors, over 250 volunteers, and thousands of individual donations have supported them.The current site of Mary’s Place By The Sea is on Broadway in Ocean Grove, in a lease-to-buy situation.  The three-story Victorian home faces Fletcher Lake and is one block from the Atlantic Ocean.

Women, who visit as "Guests", can blend the elements of traditional and alternative medicine, enjoy oncological massage therapy, have spa and salon treatments, sample nutritious meals, try yoga or touch therapy or journal writing, participate in group workshops or have individual counselling, listen to lectures and join support groups, all which are offered free. If desired by the guest, they can be paired up with someone with the same type of cancer for mutual support. Sometimes women simply come for a class, a massage, a cup of tea, to relax, listen to the sound of the ocean, or to get a hug.

Current fundraising is focussing on buying the house, making it disabled-friendly, and eventually the mission is to extend Mary's Place by the Sea from coast to coast. The mantra at Mary's Place is, "It's the right thing to do - Make it happen."

But, of course, this will require serious amounts of funding. Already, friends of Guests are offering to organise fund-raisers because of the obvious difference they see in their guest after a stay at Mary's Place.

This is a way to help.
Joanne's husband Joe says, "I would like to thank everyone, friends and family alike, for the outpouring of generosity not only this past week, but for the past 18 months. It's been welcomed and much needed.

My phones are ringing day and night with people that want to do more, that don't know what to do. You're asking and I will tell you my wishes.

There's a wonderful women's respite center located in Ocean Grove called Marys Place ...by the Sea. This past September my wife and I had the pleasure to meet and stay an evening with all the wonderful ladies; Marie, Janice, Michele to name a few who all donate their time by alleviating some of the daily stress and providing a peaceful place to rest, surrounded by women on the same path; caring for them, mind, body and spirit.

I donated "to pay it forward" so to speak as they do everything based on donations. They are tax free and honestly need to stay in business; and I am dedicated to see that they do.

I have wonderful memories of my time there, which nothing can replace.

So if you feel the need, please send a donation of any amount in my wife's name. May God bless you all; and thank you."