Mary’s Place Offers Natural and Organic Services for Women Receiving Cancer Treatment

A bright pink chair at Mary’s Place by the Sea stands out among the porches of the Victorian buildings lining the historic seaside town of Ocean Grove, New Jersey. This special chair, donated in memory of a woman who lost her battle with breast cancer, is symbolic of the non-profit’s mission, to aid women with any type of cancer.

A chair, donated in memory of a former breast cancer patient, symbolizes the non-profit’s mission.
The house is richly decorated with a nautical motif throughout.

Opening in May in its cheery, newly-built location, Mary’s Place helps women who are currently receiving cancer treatment as well as those who have been out of treatment up to one year. Since 2009, co-founders Michele Gannon and Maria McKeon have provided free services with a natural and organic bent that complement cancer patients’ medical treatment, including massages, nutrition education, Reiki, guided meditation and yoga – all in a spa-like setting.

Richly decorated with a nautical motif throughout, even the dining room’s chandelier is adorned with colorful blown glass seashells and starfish. Gourmet Chef Cathy Russo prepares flavorful, healthy meals with organic vegetables and ingredients for a communal breakfast and lunch served daily.

Mary’s Place accommodates up to 20 day guests and 10 overnight guests for a two-night stay.

Michele explained the origins of Mary’s Place: “Maria and I were on different paths. Back in 2009, I had my own experience with illness, and though not cancer, it was a light bulb moment for me. I thought: ‘How do women cope with longtime illness, while giving their bodies attention and still doing everything they need to do in their lives?’” Michele knew Maria from working out at the same gym. “I had known that she was a runner, participating in races and running for people with cancer.” Michele shared her idea with Maria to create what would become Mary’s Place. “I told Michele ‘I’m with you,’ and then both of our passions melded together and our mission became this movement,” said Maria.

A communal reddish brown wooden bench with ‘Mary’s Place by the Sea’ etched into its smooth wood, as well as its iconic symbol of love and hope—Mary Magdalene.

Mary’s Place accommodates up to 20 day guests and 10 overnight guests for a two-night stay. Maria noted, “Being here is a chance to push a pause button, reflect on what has occurred, and to start the emotional and physical healing during and after one’s treatment.”

First-timer Rachel, undergoing treatment since 2014, said, “Doctors heal our physical and medical problems, but Mary’s Place heals our hearts, minds and spirits.” 

Next to that pink chair is a reddish brown wooden bench with ‘Mary’s Place by the Sea’ etched into its smooth wood, as well as its iconic symbol of love and hope—Mary Magdalene. Michele said, “Mary is a role model for all women—she was a woman full of courage, and most importantly, she teaches us to love.” Mary’s Place is non-denominational—all faiths are welcome,” she added. This communal bench for all to sit and relax together cradles those in need of a hug. Michele noted that Mary’s Place is a respite for women who need to close the door, catch their breath, relax and “just be” in this holistic, rejuvenating environment.



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