As a Hoboken Business Owner Battles Cancer During the Pandemic, Community is Rallying Behind Her

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a business owner who isn’t working around the clock to try and adapt to the current climate that COVID-19 has created. Hoboken is a small but mighty town, so it’s no surprise that locals have continued to support businesses by purchasing gift cards, DIY kits, ordering delivery, and setting up fundraisers. Every level of support — big and small — makes an impact and helps a business stay afloat until it can safely reopen. And businesses themselves have been giving back to the community as well by donating food and supplies to local hospitals and first responders.

See More: A List of Hoboken + Jersey City Businesses Helping Healthcare Workers

But one business and family is facing another kind of challenge. Tamara Soru, a Hoboken resident of 18 years and mom of two boys is the owner of The Little Play Co — a space designed for kids to play, learn, and celebrate together. Like many other businesses, The Little Play Co. was forced to shut its doors in March from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. While Tam {as she’s known to her close friends} was busy thinking up ways to save her business, she received more devastating news — she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Tam now has not only been tasked with fighting for the viability of her business but has to also fight for her life. Her good friends Alanna Mastine, Alexandra Allen, and Amanda Spurlock know that these two hardships have caused much pain and stress for Tam and her family, so they set out to try and help alleviate some of that stress by setting up a Go Fund Me campaign to support her during this time.

Tam’s Battle

“TLPC has a very real chance of shutting down due to recent diagnosis of breast cancer so a few of us are determined not to let that happen for her sake and for the good of Hoboken,” Alanna Mastine told Hoboken Girl. This financial support will allow Tam to focus more of her energy on recovery and ensure that TLPC will continue to operate in Hoboken.

When describing Tam, Alanna commented, “Her energy and positivity is infectious. She works tirelessly on every detail of every event, ensuring that every child walks into a room filled with pure magic. She is selflessly devoted to bringing joy into people’s lives daily and on their special occasions.”
Those that know Tam know she’s not the type to easily ask for help, but receiving her diagnosis in early March landed her in unfamiliar territory. Within a span of less than four weeks, she had to close her business, start home-schooling her sons, and also try to focus on her health. That’s when her friends stepped in, and Tam welcomed the support.
Tam is currently recovering from a double mastectomy and gearing up to start chemotherapy treatments at the end of May, with her treatments lasting through September and then radiation beginning in November. When we spoke to Tam, she talked about her diagnosis with the attitude of a fighter, saying, “This time overall for all of us is far from ideal, but for me, it’s a time most precious for soaking up every second I can with my boys, while making sure to take care of myself and kick this cancer in the butt.”

About The Little Play Co.

The Little Play Co. is a custom-crafted play space that’s reminiscent of all of our favorite spots in the little city of Hoboken. Parents bring their kids for play sessions as a regular part of their schedule. It’s also a popular spot for birthday parties and special events, with a private space for kids to celebrate their special day with a themed party and all their friends. Each playhouse is designed down to the smallest detail and is outfitted with costumes, furnishings, and toys so that little ones can explore, discover, imagine, and play.

It was an easy choice for Tam to make Hoboken home for her family and her business, telling us, “Being a long time resident of Hoboken, making the decision to stay and raise my kids here was a no brainer and was the obvious choice of location to start/open my business. It’s not just the beauty of our town itself, but the beautiful people that make up the heart of our little city. The outpouring of love and support during these tough times is generous and so gracious. Not just for me and my health, but the support of our local small businesses and all affected by this pandemic.”

We are looking forward to seeing The Little Play Co. reopen {along with all the other businesses we love} and our support and hearts go out to Tam and her family while she works to beat cancer. To donate to her GoFund Me page, click here.

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Morgan is a career copywriter and copy editor with a background in small business marketing. Her professional work has been across many business verticals such as medical, web security, health + wellness, lifestyle, and consumer goods. She also had an original play produced at the Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken in June 2019. When not writing, she can be found in Sephora buying unnecessary amounts of makeup or teaching a yoga class at the Hudson Yoga Project. She works from her home office in Hoboken with her rescue dog Bowie.