Successful Single Mom; Mary-Ellen Rozak

By Melissa Chapman

What does it take to be regarded as a successful single Mom, you ask? Doesn’t the title itself, automatically imbue its holder with a level of success? As most single Moms can attest, just getting through the day jumping over hurdles like; juggling a career with the needs of their children or the ability to love their kids so unconditionally especially in the face of an endless barrage of neediness should sufficiently establish most single Moms as models of success.
But what sets single Mom Mary–Ellen Rozak apart is that, in addition to going through her pregnancy, without the support of a partner- once her bundle of joy arrived, she faced one of the toughest challenges any Mom, single or married, might have to endure.
“Jack was born Aug 20, 1994 with a disease called Billiary Atresia,” says Mary-Ellen Rozak “The short explanation is his liver did not form bile ducts correctly and the surgery to correct that could not help.Therefore his only option was a transplant.”
And like any Mother who would literally give both her physical and emotional self, to secure her child’s well-being, Mary–Ellen donated part of her liver to Jack, who had the surgery at a meager 11months old.

“We basically spent the first year of Jack’s life existing in hospitals and the next going to doctor appointments,” says Mary-Ellen.“Right after transplant he was on a strict regimen of 15 medications and had to get his blood drawn three times a week. It was certainly a trying period of our lives, and thankfully we had the tremendous support of my parents and brother, Jack’s god-father – who really pulled us through.” 

Instead of miring in the negative, a son having absolutely no support- financially or otherwise from Jacks’ biological father, and a baby who nearly succumbed to a fatal illness, having to live with her parents, throughout her ordeal, Mary-Ellen has literally taken lemons and made sweet, sugary lemonade.
“As far as his meds and blood draws, we just never let it be a big deal,” says Mary-Ellen.“We made simple routines and followed through with them as though it was something every child did. Today, 13 years later Jack is down to one medication and only needs to have his blood checked every six months.”
Mary-Ellen has that rare quality; and ability to be grateful for every precious “bonus” day she gets to spend with Jack. She’s got a unique self-possessed spirit about her; which is easily a by-product of the fact that she survived nearly losing her most precious commodity, her son, and any other problem that arises simply pales in comparison.
“This boy was born ready to play ball and I who was all about baby dolls and Barbie’s, had to learn baseball and turn right around to teach it to him,” says Mary-Ellen, who herself has since become a slightly fanatical Yankees fan. She and Jack even have season tickets.
Rather than considering living with her parents a drawback, Mary-Ellen believes her housing situation has afforded her and Jack opportunities a lifestyle that might have be unattainable if she had to go it completely solo.
“Living with my family has afforded Jack and me with the opportunity to rescue animals and give them shelter,” says Mary-Ellen, who cares for several cats and a Dog named Chase that she lovingly refers to as her other child. “The way Isee it, I am raising Jack within an extended family. Instead of a one parent or two parent family, we are more like a four parent family.”
But her magnanimous spirit doesn’t end there! In addition to her full-time job as a billing coordinator she, her brother and Jack have founded Save Staten, a grassroots effort to clear their New York City borough of its stereotypical image of gum cracking high haired, foul-mouthed women and John Gotti Jr. wannabes!.
And with each project that she undertakes Jack is right there alongside her, soaking up all the positive vibes and is positioning himself to follow in his Mom’s footsteps. 


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