Councilwoman Marianna Pontoriero returned to her seat at the dais of the Brick council chambers Tuesday night, still recovering from a torturous journey, but ready to help others.
Pontoriero, 43, announced in March that was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of head and neck cancer. Days after that announcement, she began treatment, and was able to attend her first council meeting since then this week.
The councilwoman, a local attorney known for her volunteer work supporting abused children and the elderly, spoke courageously about her ordeal, her voice left raspy from her treatment, which consisted of two surgeries and 30 rounds of radiation.
“I can say that I have now, successfully, beat cancer,” she told those in attendance, drawing applause from residents and her fellow council members.
Pontoriero said she is now planning to work as an advocate for others in the community with cancer, and would like to form a group or committee to figure out how to best support those suffering from it.
“I want to find out what the needs of the patients are here in Brick, and see if we can reach out and provide the services the people need,” she said. “It is a heinous, hideous disease. No one should be cursed to go through with it. I think it’s the least I can do after the support I’ve received from the town I love.”
“We have a real-life Wonder Woman here on our council,” said Councilwoman Health deJong.