By Joan Slowey Dellett ~
In 1995, five local women, who had a friend that had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, wanted to do something to help their friend during her treatment. They got together, pooled their resources and sent her to “A Time for Me”, a place where she could relax and recover from the ordeal of treatment. From this small thoughtful gesture, JUST US GIRLS was born – a non-profit, fund-raising organization that raises money to help breast cancer victims in Monmouth and Ocean County, NJ.
One of the original board members was Mary Hagan Gray. Unassuming with a constant smile on her face, Mary was always there for others despite the fact that she was also fighting her own battle against cancer. Mary was the Recording Secretary for JUST US GIRLS, helping to establish the bylaws and mission statement for the new organization – to promote awareness while providing support and encouragement to all women and men of Monmouth and Ocean Counties who are struggling with breast cancer.
Unfortunately, Mary bravely lost her final battle with cancer last December. A giving and loving friend, mother, grandmother and wife, Mary cared deeply for her many friends and family and had a way of making people feel special with her warm and calming nature. As one of the founding member of JUST US GIRLS, she loved helping those in need. She was the calm during all their storms and will be greatly missed.
Since its inception, JUST US GIRLS has assisted over 700 women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer through the profits of their annual walk. In addition to making monetary contributions to women struggling to make ends meet during their treatment, they also provide spiritual and physical comfort to the women in the community who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Additionally, JUST US GIRLS has an annual scholarship program to provide support to college students whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer.
Despite the mighty big shoes Mary’s passing left to fill, JUST US GIRLS will continue with their mission. This year’s race, its 25th Anniversary, is scheduled for Saturday, October 26 at the Sea Girt Army Camp and will be dedicated to Mary.
To find out more about JUST US GIRLS and how you can help with their mission or to make a donation, go to www.justusgirls.net.