There is rarely a week that goes by during which I don’t hear directly or indirectly a story about someone that just tugs at your heartstrings and unfortunately you can’t tell them all.

Today I’m sharing one about Colette Gruber, a 41-year old Beachwood woman and the single mother of five children ages 2-21.

Colette Gruber
Colette Gruber (Kristie Marino)

Just over a year ago Colette was recently separated from a difficult marriage and was going to school to become a certified surgical technician.  An advocate for eating healthy and exercise she was the picture of health. That was until hearing two words that would change her life: breast cancer.

Eleven months ago she underwent a partial mastectomy with reconstruction and had 12 lymph nodes removed and all indications were that she was cancer-free.  Colette finished school among the top of her class and found a job as a surgical tech right away and all seemed well.

However as often is the case with cancer it came back, with a vengeance.  Just recently a PET scan confirmed that Colette has stage 4 metastatic cancer which has spread to different parts of her body. Imagine raising five children and getting this devastating news, it would bring most people to their knees.

In Colette’s case it drove her into action to seek different treatments with her medical team and they’ve found one which they are optimistic about.  However it comes with a hefty price tag and during this process she won’t be able to work so help is needed to cover not only the treatment but travel and living expenses for her and her children.

Within the last week Colette’s cousin Kristie Marino created a page on which is a free online medical fundraising site described as a “compassionate crowdfunding platform.”  The goal was to raise $50,000 and they are about one-third there but need the pace to pick up so Colette can get the needed treatments.

In addition a Zumbathon to benefit the cause will be held on Sunday, April 30 at Toms River Fitness with dancing from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. featuring some of the state’s hottest Zumba instructors.

By helping Colette you are also helping Alyssia, Michael, Khloe, Brody and Kole, the five most important people in her life and the driving force behind her planned victory over cancer.  To get more on this story and how you can help visit



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