Neighbors contribute to speedy recovery

Steve DeMartis said he thinks that living in such a tight-knit community like Morris Park helped his cancer move into remission faster. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Steve DeMartis has a lot to be thankful for. His cancer has been in remission for two years. And the good deeds and kindness he has shown to others over a lifetime in Morris Park paid off when he got sick. The community came through with an amazing show of support.

On September 18, 2006, DeMartis was diagnosed with Hotchins Lymphoma, a cancer that weakens the body’s immune system. He had just turned 40-years-old. The salesman and father of three was in between jobs and finally pulled some time out of his busy schedule to get a physical. The examination revealed he had cancer.

While the diagnosis was very heart wrenching for both him and his wife Maria, who both grew up in Morris Park and were classmates together at St. Clare of Assisi School, what happened next surprised and delighted them.

“Our neighbors pulled together and supported us, going above and beyond anything we could have imagined,” Maria DeMartis said. “They put up the haunted house that we build every year on our front lawn during Halloween. I could hear them hammering it together outside until 1 a.m. in the morning. That was the most special moment during that whole time.”

According to Steve DeMartis, the outpouring of support from neighbors on Narragansett Avenue and throughout Morris Park, and from fellow parents at St. Clare’s School, where his three children Morgan, Steve, and Daniel go, was unbelievable.

“They kept on bringing over plates and plates of food, and gift cards for dinners,” DeMartis said. “When I was diagnosed, I don’t think that we ever had to cook a meal until around April 2007. They didn’t help because I couldn’t afford food, but because they wanted to make a trying time a little easier.”

DeMartis said that he was especially impressed by the fact that all of the positive vibes he has put out over the years and the good deeds he has done for people have paid off. He thinks that his neighbor’s care and concern about his well being played a significant role in his recovery.

“All of this really shows that what goes around, comes around,” DeMartis said. “I am really glad that going out and caring about everyone in the neighborhood over all these years has paid off. The support around you is key to recovery because the medicine can only do so much.”

DeMartis said that if he hadn’t lived in Morris Park, where many of his childhood friends are now his neighbors, he thinks that his road to recovery would have been much more strenuous.

“If I was not living in Morris Park, and I didn’t know many people nearby, it would have been much tougher,” DeMartis said. “I don’t want to name everyone by name, because I don’t want to leave anyone out, but I would just like to say thank you to all of my friends and neighbors who made my remission possible.”

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