By RICHARD VIRGILIO
Mary’s Place volunteers, guests and supporters gathered Wed., Nov. 5, along with its founders, to celebrate the groundbreaking for the organization’s new larger facility on Main Avenue in Ocean Grove.
“Everyone who has embraced Mary’s Place should feel proud today,” said Michele Gannon, co-founder. “Our mission has officially grown its wings. What began as a dream five years ago has become a movement of hope and encouragement for women fighting cancer.”
Mary’s Place will pour the foundation for its new 10 bedroom Victorian-style retreat at 22 Main Avenue within the next few weeks. The hope is to begin welcoming guests by mid-summer. The facility is located four blocks north of its current six-bedroom building, which the charity is renting. Mary’s Place purchased the land for the new building from Robert Pettibone earlier this year.
“Mary’s Place and the Ocean Grove community have become a destination for those battling cancer,” said Neptune Township Committeeman Randy Bishop. “Michele and Maria and all their volunteers reinforce what is unique and special about Ocean Grove. By leading the way for wellness, they are showing the world who Ocean Grove is.”
To-date, Mary’s Place has helped more than 4,000 women battling cancer and been recognized by People magazine, Huffington Post, WNBC and the UK’s Daily Telegraph. The retreat gives guests from around the country a place to relax and escape during and post-treatment.
Along with customized individual and group support, guests receive free traditional and complementary wellness therapies including yoga, nutrition counseling and massage. The new facility will offer expanded services and community outreach.
“These women were not just our guests,” said David Armstrong, board chairman. “They were our sisters, mothers, aunts and spouses. Mary’s Place is a family and this new building is our home base.”