Last August Lael McGrath, a very active retired teacher from Toms River was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and in her battle found tremendous support from family and friends.

McGrath is part of Extended Arms, a local women’s group that helps raise money for Ocean’s Harbor House among other charitable causes.  When it was one of their own they quickly went into action and put together a fundraising walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“A Light in the Night” was held on the boardwalk in Seaside Park last September and more than 100 people not only raised money but showed support for their friend, the kind McGrath would need while undergoing 7 weeks of chemotherapy treatments at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Later it was determined that her best chance for full recovery was to find a donor match for a bone marrow transplant.  I said at the top of this that McGrath is “active” and that might be an understatement.  An advocate of fitness and healthy living this 65-year old is the grandmother of six, including two sets of twins between the ages of 15 months and 9 years old (with another on the way).

She was indeed looking to make a full recovery so on December 16 she received the bone marrow of an anonymous donor.

Well it’s now a year later from when she was diagnosed and Lael is throwing a unique lawn party on Sunday, September 10th to thank her family, friends and neighbors for their support during her successful treatments.  The joyous event will be held right across from the home her and husband Herb live in at 26 Haines Cove Drive in Toms River and it will include things like a band, DJ, food truck, bounce house, giveaways and more.  They hope many friends, neighbors and others join them for a true celebration.

However there is a serious side to this because as a bone marrow recipient McGrath knows how important donors are to help save the lives of others. So her thank you party on September 10th will also serve as a “Be the Match” swabbing event from 1:30-4:30 for anyone between the ages of 18-44 who might be interested in being a donor.

It’s simple and can make a huge difference as for many a marrow transplant is their only hope for life.  Just asked McGrath who is back running and paddle boarding while happily chasing her grandchildren.




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