September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

spriggs-davidSeptember is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and we are proud to fund the outstanding research of Dr. David Spriggs, who has worked with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, one of the best hospitals in the world, for over twenty years.

“In addition to the daily care of women with gynecologic cancers, I run clinical trials that are testing new, targeted drugs, and oversee a small research laboratory looking for answers to such questions as why certain tumors resist drug treatment and how genes can affect the development of tumors,” says Dr. Spriggs.

The David Spriggs Lab has focused its research in the area of ovarian cancer and drug resistance. Ovarian cancer is unique in that newly diagnosed disease is almost uniformly sensitive to chemotherapy yet nearly all patients will eventually succumb to resistant disease. The focus has been primarily directed at transcriptional and post transcriptional regulation.

Watch Dr. Spriggs as he is featured on our latest video, A Glorious Chorus, and check out our Upcoming Events to support a cancer research fundraiser in your area to allow us to continue funding the excellent work of Dr. Spriggs and our other research doctors.

Congratulations to cancer survivor, IRONMAN Jan Swenson!


Our heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to Jan Swenson, who competed in the IRONMAN Lake Placid this past weekend just one year after beating cancer. Jan used his months of training as a platform to raise funds for our leukemia, cancer and AIDS research, and our foundation is grateful for the almost $7,000 raised by family, friends, coworkers and strangers in honor of this inspirational athlete.

We love the hashtag created to commemorate this incredible accomplishment on social media (#CancerHasGotNothingOnIronJan) and feel his wife says it best when she commends the way he “consciously chose not to be a victim of cancer. To fight, to conquer that chemo process, and come back stronger than ever.” Way to go, Jan!

Jan Swenson Competes This Weekend in IRONMAN Syracuse!

20160613_122638_1465835963034Despite a shoulder injury that took him away from training for about a week, cancer survivor Jan Swenson was able to get back to his routine last week and successfully competed a 100-mile bike ride through Morris and Hunterdon County in New Jersey.

This weekend he will be racing in the IRONMAN Syracuse 70.3 and we’ll be sure to post photos when he’s done. Jan is excited to debut his new custom T.J. Martell race kit created by Peal Izumi.

The IRONMAN Lake Placid is less than six weeks away. Don’t forget to donate here to Jan’s fundraising efforts so we can continue to support life-saving leukemia, cancer and AIDS research.

Ramble finish

Guest Blog Post: Nashville Best Cellars Dinner by Carly Browning

image001The T.J. Martell Foundation’s 17th Annual Nashville Best Cellars Dinner took place at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in an event space of true beauty. A collaboration of food, wine, and music all to support the T.J. Martell Foundation creates an incredible atmosphere. Projections of watercolor dancers adorned the walls while the tables were dropped in red and black fabrics.

In previous years, the dinner has been conceived and prepared by a single chef. While the past prowess and execution by these chefs has been impeccable, it was time to freshen things up. Guests enjoyed five courses from five different James Beard Award winning chefs. As per years past, each table was paired with a wine host who carefully selected pairings for each course. The dinner proved to be a sensory experience that left each guest full to the brim yet somehow wanting more.

First Course: Danfuskie Crab Rise

The first course, prepared by Sean Brock of Nashville’s Husk, certainly wowed taste buds. Danfuskie crab was pulled and sat atop a bed of rice. It was rustic and authentic with clean flavors reminiscent of sea water and down home cooking. Was it expected? No. Accepted? Happily and wishing there was more. Brock was received his James Beard Award in 2010 for Best Southeast Chef. He has also been nominated for Outstanding Chef and Rising Star Chef, as well as receiving awards for his first cookbook Heritage.

Second Course: Fonduta Egg Tart

Where the first course was light and sent whispers from the ocean, the second course covered you with a blanket on the forest floor — conceived and executed by Ashley Christensen of AC Restaurants, Raleigh NC. Yet this fonduta egg tart with asparagus, confit’d mushrooms, and charred ramp vinaigrette shown far beyond the asparagus. Playing on the rustic themes of Chef Brock’s dish, Chef Christensen encompassed cold, warm, and wonderful all in one. Christensen was awarded the James Beard Award in 2014 for Best Southeast Chef.

Third Course: Sorpresine

Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Memphis staples Hog & Hominy, Porcellino’s, Andrew Michael delivered above and beyond with this third dish. This perfectly al dente pasta blended elements of South America with the memory of Italy. Green garlic, guanciale (cured pork cheek), noce condimenta (nut ragu), and ricotta salata rounded out this bold, giving dish. It boasted simple yet humble flavors, a subtle reminder that good food and big flavors don’t have to be complicated. Between the crumbling meat and texture of the nuts, this dish struck all chords. Ticer and Hudman were nominated for the James Beard Award Best Chef Southeast in 2012, 2013, 2014 and are currently nominated in 2016.

Fourth Course: Brisket & Grits

By far the largest and most filling portion, large slabs of brisket sat atop a bed of sour grits conceived by Tandy Wilson of Nashville’s City House. Slow, low, and wonderful, the spice in this dish creeped around never pushing to hard. The brisket was dry aged with a black pepper and fennel rub. Paired perfectly with the gremolata and lettuces, I wish I could’ve finished every bite of this dish. Too bad they don’t do to go boxes…. Chef Wilson was nominated for the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Fifth Course: Pavlova

Straight out of childhood dreams, a baseball sized strawberry and basil meringue sat atop a bed of strawberry puree, black pepper, and pine nut. Chefs Ticer and Hudman tackled this dish as well, bringing just as much flair as they did the first. Bold, to choose a fruit dessert instead of chocolate when pairing with wine; though the gusto of this delicious doubt washed away any doubt. Perfectly crumbly, melt in your mouth, and nothing but sweet. My table was lucky enough to enjoy this with a 1966 Dow Vintage Port to knock the socks off anyone. A lovely end to a meal I wish didn’t have to end.

At the end of the event, the room came together to raise even more money for a wonderful cause. A celebration of life and the great pleasures it can bring, made even more special by the T.J. Martell Foundation — an organization that truly cares about cancer patients and their families. Until next year, there’s still so much more to be done.

By Carly Browning

Q&A With Women of Influence NY Honoree Ruby Marchand

ruby marchand grammy FINALS-3The T.J. Martell Foundation is thrilled to honor Ruby Marchand at the 4th Annual Women of Influence Luncheon in New York. Ruby is the Vice President of International Repertoire Development at Warner Music Group, as well as the Vice Chair of the Recording Academy. Below, Ruby shares her feelings on being a “Woman of Influence,” as well as some pieces of advice for other women. You can learn more about the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Women of Influence luncheon in New York at

  1. What does it mean to you to be chosen as a Woman of Influence by the T.J. Martell Foundation?

In the music industry, the T.J. Martell Foundation has always symbolized the pinnacle of personal achievement and a high level of caring for others. I believe that there are many forms of care, including mentoring, philanthropy, and personal service. I am sincerely touched and honored to be a Women Of Influence this year.

  1. What piece of advice would you give to young women today to inspire them to follow their dreams?

I always advise young women to remain true to themselves. Live freely, intuitively, and keep your antennae up so that you are aware of the opportunities that surround us all.

  1. What steps do you take to make health and wellness a priority in your life?

When you’re juggling family, friends, work, travel, and all the responsibilities that come with a full life, it is almost irresistible to put your own health last. Everything else seems to take priority. I made a decision many years ago to make self-care a top priority in my life. This means that I listen to my mind and my body. I eat well, take long walks, and see my circle of doctors regularly. I have checkups on time and work my schedule around them. I smile a lot and gravitate towards humor and positivity. While we can’t control what life brings to us, we can react with strength, balance, resilience and perspective.

Help us Celebrate our Volunteers!


One of our favorite quotes is “To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.”  April is National Volunteer Month.  As discussion among our staff began one name was unanimous as to who we should recognize as an outstanding volunteer.

Being a volunteer you give of yourself and share with others your life experiences, skills, compassion and humor.  You give of your time generously without any expectation of reward.  Pat Ford is the Mayor of the City of Pulaski, Tennessee, Instructor of Business at Martin Methodist College, Member of the Rotary Club of Pulaski, Deacon at First Baptist Church Pulaski and he is an outstanding volunteer.

Pat began volunteering for the T.J. Martell Foundation in 2008 at our Ride for a Cure events.  By 2010 he was volunteering at multiple events, and in 2014 not only did he give of his time as a volunteer but he generously opened the Nashville Honors Gala with the invocation, a tradition that has carried on for the past three Galas. Pat can be seen volunteering at events in Nashville, Atlanta and New York. We call him our security officer, photographer, artist escort, auctioneer, stage manager and more!  There is no one quite like Mayor Ford!

As Tony Martell would say with volunteers like Pat we are keeping alive the bold promise of the T.J. Martell Foundation which means we are keeping people alive!

Pat Ebony and  Rochelle 2015 Pat BCD 2014

Helping Cancer Patients Through Psycho-Oncology, by CEO Laura Heatherly

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQvAAAAJDc2Nzc3ZWRmLWFjZTItNDRhNS1hYmUxLWE0YWMxOTg1YWE2ZgRecently in the New York Times, I read an article written by Susan Gubar regarding her bout with cancer and dealing with occupational therapy.  Basically, after eight years of physical therapy, she felt that she had not received any professional assistance for many of the issues that come with being diagnosed with cancer such as fear, weakness, fatigue, insomnia, etc.

Each year 12.7 million people discover they have cancer which is one of the most mysterious and terrifying diseases in our lifetime.  Thanks to research, scientists work round the clock to find new discoveries that will turn into clinical trials and new drug discoveries that will save lives.  However, patients are living daily with fear – the fear of dying, fear of coping with the disease while taking care of their families, fear of the unknown and more.

Thanks to Dr. Jimmie C. Holland who is the Wayne E. Chapman Chair in Psychiatric Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, she pioneered ways in which counseling, psychosocial interventions, and medications can reduce the distress experienced by cancer patients and their families.  As a psychiatrist for more than 30 years, Dr. Holland has devoted her career to helping patients, their families, and medical staff as they cope with the psychological burden of cancer and its treatment.

The T.J. Martell Foundation has been supporting psychiatric oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for many years and has navigated patients to getting the help they need to be able to deal with their disease.  Our goal is to create positive energy in hopes that patients can overcome their fear and anxiety and tackle their disease.

Believe me, Dr. Jimmie Holland is a pioneer – she is from my home state of Texas and she is one of the best people that I know who are helping to change the world in the way we deal with cancer .

Q&A With Women Of Influence NY Honoree Debra Joester

Debra Joester HeadshotMeet another Women of Influence New York honoree: Debra Joester! Debra is President and CEO of The Joester Loria Group, which is the architect of dozens of award-winning strategic brand extension programs as well as licensing innovation in entertainment, emerging sectors and special events. We spoke with Debra about her involvement in this year’s luncheon and awards that will benefit the Foundation’s breast and ovarian cancer research programs. See what Debra has to say below, and learn more about the 4th Annual Women of Influence Luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City by visiting

  1. What does it mean to you to be chosen as a Woman of Influence by the T.J. Martell Foundation?

I was honored and humbled when I learned I was selected to be recognized as a Woman of Influence in 2016.The TJ Martell Foundation is important to me on a very personal level. As a parent, Tony Martell’s story and commitment to finding a cure is truly inspirational.  As a woman and mother of a daughter, I consider finding a cure for breast and ovarian cancer of the utmost importance. Over the years, I have lost dear friends to breast cancer and to AIDS, but I am hopeful as I watch friends winning their battle against those diseases every day.  Those victories and finding a cure are supported by funding the TJ Martell Foundation provides for research.  Beyond the work TJ Martell does, I am thrilled to reinforce the message of hope and empowerment that is the centerpiece of the TJ Martell’s Women of Influence luncheon.  Past honorees have truly inspired me and I hope I can use my story and experience to do the same.

  1. What piece of advice would you give to young women today to inspire them to follow their dreams?

Follow your passions:  Find something you are passionate about and do it as well as you can.

Celebrate being smart: Be confident in what you know and do well.  Take ownership of your accomplishments.

Curiosity keeps you relevant:  Never stop learning or asking questions, and stay informed about our complex and ever-changing world.

Develop People Skills:   Be a team player and a good collaborator.  Build relationships and trust with your peers, as well as those that are senior and junior.

Don’t forget your personal life:  Make time for family, friends, fitness and fun.  Balance is hard to find but it is important to make balance a priority.

Give Back:  Mentor, volunteer, and join in whenever you can. There are so many ways to participate in causes that are important to you!

  1. What steps do you take to make health and wellness a priority in your life?

I love my hectic New York lifestyle but it can make healthy choices more challenging.  Work and personal commitments fill my days, so creating healthy habits is really important to me. I am a foodie, but I find eating more fruit and vegetables makes me feel better and still gives me delicious food options. I have never smoked and don’t drink soda, don’t eat sugary foods or indulge in unhealthy lifestyle choices. I believe women cannot afford to miss their annual visits to their doctors, so I schedule my check-ups and doctor’s visits the way I would schedule any other important meeting or event.  I play tennis in the summer and walk all year around but I don’t make enough time to go to the gym.  I am challenging myself to make time for exercise but it’s not easy!


Q&A With Women of Influence NY Honoree Ariane Duarte

Ariane DuarteFans of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” may recognize Ariane Duarte, who competed on the show’s 5th season. This past year, the chef also competed on the show “Beat Bobby Flay” and was victorious! Ariane is also the owner and chef of Ariane’s Kitchen & Bar in New Jersey. She, as well as six other outstanding women, will be honored and celebrated at the 4th Annual Women of Influence Luncheon in New York on May 13th.

Get to know a little more about Ariane:

  1. What does it mean to you to be chosen as a Woman of Influence by the T.J. Martell Foundation?

The question gives me pause. Without thinking that I am influencing anyone, I just carry on, doing what I love, doing what I care about for those I hope will enjoy what I create.

I am a chef. I try to feed the stomach and if I feed the soul, then I am doing more than I hoped.  If my attitude, my business, my food inspire others to follow their talent, how lucky am I!  

  1. What piece of advice would you give to young women today to inspire them to follow their dreams?

Forget dreams.  Follow your talents. Young women – ask questions, Ask questions. Ask questions. It’s ok to hear “no”.  It’s the way you’ll grow.

  1. What steps do you take to make health and wellness a priority in your life?

Annual checks-ups and listen to your body!

Support Ariane and our other 6 honorees by making a tax-deductible donation or purchasing a ticket to the New York Women of Influence luncheon. Funds raised will benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation’s breast and ovarian cancer research programs.


Q&A With Women Of Influence NY Honoree Sue Phillips

We had the pleasure of chatting with Sue Phillips, President & CEO of Scenterprises. Sue is one of seven outstanding women being honored at the New York Women of Influence Luncheon on May 13th.

What does it mean to you to be chosen as a Woman of Influence by the T.J. Martell Foundation?

Sue PhillipsIt is such an honor to be chosen by an organization that is so altruistic, and which raises funds for such a worthy cause. Tony Martell is now retired from the music industry, but it was through Music that gave him the impetus to keep a promise to his son to find a cure for cancer, and today the T.J. Martell Foundation has raised over $270 million for leukemia, cancer and AIDS research. Music is so fundamental to my wellbeing, too, as it is one of the joys of life and I grew up in South Africa, surrounded by music and art, inspired by mother.  Imagine a world without Music? Imagine a life without any of the Senses? That is why I am so honored to be chosen as a Woman of Influence because it is through the Senses that we can help people bring about positive change; bring HAPPINESS to those in need of it, and also to find a cure through the Senses for these terrible diseases. It is humbling to be honored and to be in the company of so many other remarkable women, and it only makes me want to work even more effectively and strategically to strive to make a greater difference.

What piece of advice would you give to young women today to inspire them to follow their dreams?

Sue_10As Adjunct Professor at LIM College, I try to motivate and inspire my students to believe in themselves, and to explore their surroundings, as they are living in one of the greatest cities of the world. I tell them that it’s important to fuel their passions and to open themselves to all kinds of opportunities. “You’re living in New York City. Avail yourself of everything that is here; the museums and galleries, lectures and parks. When you go from class to class; look around you, look up at the spectacular New York city views and architecture…keep your eyes open!” There’s so much that can help them in their future endeavors. Many of them are obsessed with reality shows, so I try and broaden their horizons and to inspire them to think exponentially. And, if they fail in their endeavors, my motto is to ‘never give up’ and to keep going! Hopefully they remember my words and dream big!

What steps do you take to make health and wellness a priority in your life?

Having been witness to so many people who have been afflicted with cancer, leukemia, AIDS and Alzheimer’s, I try and live my life in as healthy a way as possible. Exercise and a wholesome diet are important to me, but also incorporating beauty and the joy of Art, Music, Fragrance and other Senses, are ways to enjoy a ‘scentsory’ life, to completely ensure my wellbeing. I believe in the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest form of wellness!