"Raise the Roof" Benefit Slated for Mary's Place By the Sea

Ocean Grove, New Jersey is known as a jewel by the sea because of its pristine beach, its quaint old Victorian-style charm, and also its fine inns and eateries.  It’s also a summer meeting point for Christians across the country and the world as each June the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, fires up for its season.  One can spend a day or a month there getting refreshed and revived in as many ways as needed:  rest, relaxation, pampering, and spiritual growth and renewal.

What tourists and even some locals may not know is that tucked into this lovely seaside enclave is a retreat center, “Mary’s Place by the Sea,” for women who are undergoing cancer treatment.  Temporarily a part of a bed and breakfast owned by April and Rob Kaprelian, “Mary’s Place” couldn’t be in a more fitting geographic location, since Ocean Grove’s salt air, soothing sea, and “slowed down” pace of life can only bring a sense of peace and well-being unknown anywhere else.

“Mary’s Place by the Sea,” named after the Virgin Mary, was founded last June by Michele Gannon and Maria McKeon.  Gannon explains that the name came from the fact that our Holy Mother was, in effect, “the caregiver to all” and establishing the facility was “borne out of a need to help women who are living in quiet desperation.”

“As a busy mother of three young children,” Gannon states, “I could not imagine how a mother stricken with cancer could live daily caring for her family while fighting her disease.  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 believe they will heal faster and beat their disease.”

Volunteers at “Mary’s Place” help women by providing respite after the rigors of cancer treatments, providing assistance with daily activities so that patients can focus on healing and building the strength that is needed to successfully combat cancer.  Guests stay a few hours or a few days and are offered amenities such in-room spa services, yoga, strength training, Reiki, and guided meditation.  Services are also offered to family members, including counseling or a meal while their loved one rests.

“Mary’s Place” is set up as a 501(c)3, and it’s Gannon and McKeon’s goal to open centers in every major US city over the next 20 years.  To help with that- and to, initially, help with providing a permanent place for this amazing facility, the local community has gotten on board and a major fund raiser, “Raise the Roof,” will be held this coming Saturday, June 26th, at the historic Asbury Convention Hall.

Jody Joseph is attached as music director for this event, and many great musicians are scheduled to appear, including Gary US Bonds as headliner. 

The show will be emceed by comedian and impressionist Robert Magnotti who has appeared on CBS's The Late Show with David Letterman and NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien.  The Steve Reilly Band will perform the debut of the song penned in honor of this project “Raise the Roof” (written by Steve DeVito).  The show will also include performances by The Jody Joseph Band, Jo Bonanno and the Godsons of Soul, Wade Preston (from “Movin’ Out”), Laura Crisci, Lisa Bouchelle, and Bullet Bob.

A full course buffet dinner is included in the modest ticket price of $65. Tickets can be obtained through Live Nation (www.livenation.com) or [email protected].

To contact “Mary’s Place by the Sea,” please call 732/775-1919.

M. D. Caprario is an author, editor, and journalist covering all good things in the book, film, and entertainment industries- and events and people that seek to change our World for the good.  Reach her at [email protected]

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