Giving Back

Mama Mare Foundation Delivers A Special Holiday Gift To Spotswood Breast Cancer Survivor

928925eb815513afa41f_mama_mare.JPG
The Mama Mare Foundation and the Jilly Bean Dream Trip Award Program delivered a very special holiday gift to Spotswood resident, Alison Shornock and her family on December 16. Credits: Dawn Miller
0b27555ec47b1bf0f149_mama_mare1.JPG
Dale Gregorin, who lost his daughter Jill to breast cancer, played Santa for the very special delivery. Credits: Dawn Miller
21a9df9e92dc59ff17a0_mama_mare4.JPG
Alison Shornock opened the door to what she thought was a spirited group of holiday carolers. The special delivery of a dream trip to Disney came as a complete surprise. Credits: Dawn Miller
e27dc66bc4a3db64974b_mama_mare2.JPG
Alison Shornock listened in disbelief as she learned that she and her family were the recipients of the Mama Mare Foundation and the Jilly Bean Dream Trip Award's to Disney World. Credits: Dawn Miller
928925eb815513afa41f_mama_mare.JPG

SPOTSWOOD, NJ – Santa Claus came early for a borough family, delivering a very special surprise to Alison, Benjamin, Colin and Dylan Shornock on December 16. The family will be heading to Disney World for an all-expense paid vacation courtesy of the Mama Mare Foundation and the Jilly Bean Dream Trip Award Program.

A contingent of elves comprised of family, friends and people touched by the Mama Mare Foundation gathered outside the Shornock’s Spotswood home shortly before noon yesterday. The group began a chorus of “Jingle Bells” before launching into “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

Santa really did come to town, arriving with a big bag of goodies for the family complete with luggage, Mickey Mouse ears and Disney tees. Dale Gregorin was Mama Mare’s noteworthy Santa. Gregorian, whose daughter Jill lost her fight with breast cancer two summers ago, read a personally prepared poem, announcing the Shornock’s holiday gift. He, his wife and children teamed up with the Mama Mare Foundation to form the Jilly Bean Dream Trip Award Program after losing Jill.

Sign Up for E-News

Tears filled Alison Shornock’s eyes as she listened in disbelief to the poem. The very special present coincided with Shornock’s upcoming birthday to make the timing of the present even better. Shornock was diagnosed with breast cancer last December. The teacher and mom endured an extremely challenging year that included surgical and chemotherapy treatments at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. It was during her year of hell that Shornock came to know the people and the huge hearts behind the Mama Mare Foundation.

The Mama Mare Foundation was founded in 2010 by Krista Kasper. Kasper founded the Mama Mare Foundation in memory of her mother, Mary Ellen Pernice. Pernice lost her hard-fought battle with breast cancer in 2009. The Mama Mare Foundation offers assistance to breast cancer patients and their families.

“We offer a Hair to Heal program, which covers the costs of wigs for patient's whose insurance denies them,” Kasper explained. “We also just launched a program where we partnered with Eat Clean Bro to offer nutritious meals to families who are currently battling breast cancer. Another new program sets up house cleaning for people who are in active treatment. We also have a financial aid program that helps to eliminate medical debt as well as a travel program that sends patients and their families on dream vacations! At Robert Wood Johnson University hospital, we offer a complimentary massage program for in patients, out patients and their families.”

Typically, the organization delivers two trips a year to families that have battled breast cancer. There is an application process that families must complete in order to be considered. Shornock filled out the application, but never thought the family would receive the dream trip, describing herself as not being the luckiest person in the world.

“It is difficult to choose and we try to gift as many trips as our funds allow,” Kasper continued when asked how they make the tough choice. “Typically two per year and it's more of a first come, first serve type of a process. Some stories really pull at the heart when you hear what a difficult time these people are going through and you just want to be able to give them a piece of happiness and something fabulous to look forward to!”

“I’m a little speechless right now,” Shornock said when asked about receiving the dream trip for her and her family. “Jill (Thaisz) put me in contact with the Mama Mare Foundation when I first got diagnosed. It has just been one support after another that helped me get through it.”

Thaisz a fellow Spotswood resident was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. She and her family were the recipients of the Mama Mare Foundation’s My Happy Place trip in 2015.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” Shornock continued. “I just said this the other day to my parents. Getting diagnosed was obviously the worst thing that could have happened to me, but the people that I have met along the way; the friendships that I’ve made through cancer, is something you can’t understand unless you are going through it. Strangers that are just there for you and willing to help you.”

Shornock thanked Thaisz for introducing her to the Mama Mare Foundation before giving her a heartfelt hug. Thaisz spoke to Shornock about paying the kindness forward to others facing the breast cancer battle.

When the next dream trip is awarded to a breast cancer survivor, Shornock will most certainly be among the growing group of people touched by the kindness, compassion and generosity of the Mama Mare Foundation as is Thaisz.

Kasper’s mother, Mary Ellen dedicated her life to helping others. The Mama Mare Foundation is Kasper’s way of keeping her mother’s life goal alive. For more information on the Mama Mare Foundation and the groups' numerous fundraising endeavors throughout the year, visit their website.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Milltown/Spotswood

Beyond Thoughts and Prayers: The Official Program for East Brunswick #Never Again Vigil

February 24, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ -  A solemn vigil of remembrance will be held at the East Brunswick High School football field on Sunday, February 25th at 6:30 pm.  the program will feature blessings, speakers, and a call to action in response to the murders of 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  The program has been ...

Somerville: What’s Up There? Take the Second Floor Tour

February 24, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Longtime residents, local historians and others concerned with the future path of the borough’s redevelopment will take a stroll along Main Street Sunday afternoon, Feb. 25  to look skyward and gaze at what’s above their heads.

“Second Story Somerville” a guided tour led by historian Bill Lawton, will look above the ground floor storefronts ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, February 25, 11:00 AM

East Brunswick Jewish Center, East Brunswick

PurimFest

Sat, March 3

New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble, Summit

NJDTE Summer Dance Intensive & Young Dancers ...

Sun, March 4, 3:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

Staatskapelle Weimar

Arts & Entertainment

EBPD: Safeguarding Students, Staff, and Residents in the Public Schools

February 21, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The East Brunswick Police Department, in cooperation with the East Brunswick Board of Education, will be assisting the school security staff by providing police officers at our township public schools. It is the goal of the East Brunswick Police Department and the East Brunswick Board of Education to safeguard our students, staff and residents at our schools on a daily basis ...

Diegnan: Computer Science Now Required in New Jersey Schools

February 24, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick Diegnan to require school districts to offer course in computer science and Department of Education to adopt changes to NJ Student Learning Standards in computer science has been signed into law.

“To flourish in tomorrow’s digital economy and society, our children should be learning computer science,” said ...

EarthCam Shares Live Webcam Views of Seaside Heights Polar Bear Plunge

February 23, 2018

TAPintoTravels - If you saw our article, you know about the Polar Bear Plunge this Saturday to support the Special Olympics.  If you cannot be there, but want to see the festivities, this press release tells you how you can.

WHAT: Tomorrow, February 24 from 9am-1pm ET, thousands of people will make a mad dash into the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean just off the ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)

 

Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...