Gillian’s Story of Survival

487635909.224532414I am blessed to be alive! In 2013, I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, which had metastasized to other organs and bones in my body.  As I was being treated for pain management at a hospital in Westchester, NY the doctors and oncologist that evaluated my case said my days were numbered and recommended that my next stop was Hospice Care and beginning Chemotherapy treatments immediately, which did not align with my belief system.

This is where God stepped in with my sister finding out about Dr. James F. Holland from a colleague.  My prayers were answered in my first phone conversation with Dr. James F. Holland. He said, “Gillian, I am looking for someone who wants to live,” and I said, “you are speaking to that person.” In that same conversation Dr. Holland had already evaluated my case with a recommendation that saved my life, and the protocol did not involve Chemotherapy or Radiation.

I am filled with a tremendous amount of gratitude to report it’s been over two years and I am alive to share my story.  This is due to Dr. Holland’s expertise and support not just in the protocol he recommended, but his integrity and sincerity in supporting how I approached my healing process for my mind, body and spirit.

I was blessed to have the same amazing Oncologist that touched the life of T.J. Martell, and 40 years later he touched my life by his commitment to innovative cancer research.   I thank God for the T.J. Martell Foundation’s unwavering commitment to raising funds for innovative research to find treatments and cures for Leukemia, Cancer and Aids.  More importantly this funding enables more “Oncology Trailblazers” like Dr. James F. Holland to SAVE LIVES.




Guest Blog Post: How to Stay Energized From Morning Until Night


The difference between a person and a machine is that a machine can run for 24 hours nonstop, with no exhaustion whatsoever. A person, on the other hand, can’t be able to work under such conditions and perform effectively all through. Yes, not even with coffee.  We get tired; we require some sleep. Experts recommend that you have at least 6 hours of sleep. A sad reality in life is that most people are obsessed with achieving the “it” kind of life. We want people to admire and envy us for all that we have. It doesn’t matter if you will spend the entire night working, just to add a few dollars to our accounts. We don’t care that we are losing touch with our families; in any case they should be thankful we are doing all this for them. Isn’t that so? No?

With that kind of a mentality and lifestyle, you might be doing more harm to yourself than good. First of all sleep deprivation leaves you irritable and underproductive. You tend to lose concentration easily and this make you prone to missing some major details in the things you are doing. Again, your family is the most important part of your life. By all means work to make their lives better, but don’t forget to check on then every once in a while. Just to know how they have been fairing. This gives them a sense of security as they feel you love them despite your busy schedule.

In this article, we look at the routine that you should follow to have an energized productive day, especially for a woman.  Adhere to the following things.

  1. Stop the Habit of Snoozing

I know that most alarm systems have a button that says snooze, but please if it’s waking up, stop using it. This is because, when the alarm rings, you are awoken. If you snooze for let’s say another ten minutes, that is not enough time for you to have fallen asleep completely. Thus, it will ring again when you are halfway asleep. This interferes with your hormones and tends to make you sluggish throughout the day.

  1. Lighten up the place

Draw out the curtains for light to get in the house. Light helps in stimulating the wake-up processes. In the event that you are an early riser and it’s still dark outside, switch the lights on. This will make you feel more ready to start the day’s activities.

  1. Jumpstart you day with some exercise

Before everyone else wakes up and start asking for things, they probably should not be having, you need to have some you-time. Do a 30 to 45 minutes exercise to boost your mood. Alternatively, if you are a yogi, you can practice a few postures.  This will help you come down and easily tackle everything else that comes your way during the day.

  1. Take a healthy breakfast

As a mother, you are required to do a lot of stuff in the morning. Ensure everybody is ready in time and they do not miss anything.  Prepare their breakfast snacks for the day and a whole bunch of other stuff. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Prepare one that is health and enough for everyone. Minimize the carbohydrates intake and opt for the lean protein and healthy fats.

  1. Carry a snack to the office

Taking your snack ensures you don’t get tempted to eat the junk foods mainly offered in the cafeteria.  You can watch what you are eating as most of these foods contains loads of unhealthy fats. A snack is essential to keep you full during the day. Some nuts like almond or and avocado stuffed snack are quite ideal.

  1. Don’t forget to eat your lunch

Lunch is the second most important meal of the day. No matter how busy you are, don’t forget to take it. It will keep you refreshed and bursting with energy in the afternoon, which is otherwise deemed to be boring.

  1. Drink, Drink Water

I think this should become the 11th commandment. I guess that’s when most people will start taking it seriously. Dehydration is not going to do any good to you aside from making you tired and irritable. Staying hydrated is a sure way to keep you energized throughout the day and your alertness level is increased. Eight glasses a day will do just fine or eat foods that have a high water content e.g. watermelons. Whatever you do ensure you are hydrated and no, coffee is not one of the drinks I am talking about.

  1. Take in Vegetables and Fruits

Vitamins and minerals found in most foods are essential not only for your health but also to keep you energized during the day.  They also make a sweet, refreshing snack, especially in the afternoon.


After the day is over, write a note of the things you need to do the next day. Don’t carry your work home and deny yourself the chance to connect with your family. The work stress may affect your health, so a few minutes of yoga will also be welcome as it helps in relieving the day’s stress. Help the children with their homework and connect with your partner. These are the little things that make a lot of difference in our lives. In no time, you will become healthier and happier.


Further Readings:


Author Bio:

Claire John is a Houston, TX-based author with 7 years of experience, who has covered beauty, fitness, diet plans and health articles for a number of websites. She is a graduate from Texas Southern University. You can find her work on top beauty, health and fitness websites. To know more about Claire John visit her on Facebook and Google+





In Honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

unnamedIn honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the T.J. Martell Foundation and all its supporters on behalf of the physicians, researchers and patients at the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases (CCCBD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA).

For over two decades, the T.J. Martell Foundation has been a generous partner in the cancer research taking place at CHLA. In that time, the cure rates for childhood cancers have steadily increased due to research and improvements in treatment.

Seed funding from the T.J. Martell Foundation has helped our investigators perform initial work that has led to obtaining additional peer-reviewed research grants from the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense, and other foundations. Thus, leveraging funding from the T.J. Martell Foundation serves to further advance pediatric cancer research at CHLA.

Thirty years ago, neuroblastoma, a deadly form of cancer in young children, had a survival rate of less than 15% for those with the high-risk form of the disease. The T.J Martell Foundation has supported Dr. Robert Seeger’s field advancing investigations in this area and now the cure rate has increased to 45%. Drs. Seeger, Yves DeClerck, and Shahab Asgharzadeh are working to better understand tumor growth and spread and to develop new treatments to target the tumor microenvironment. This research may further improve the survival of children with neuroblastoma.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most frequent type of cancer in children. Dr. Nora Heisterkamp’s research focuses on the interaction between leukemia cells and the bone marrow that lead to resistance to chemotherapy. Her findings have revealed that “natural killer” cells grown from the blood of children with leukemia can be used to overcome this chemotherapy resistance in the laboratory, leading to a new approach in immunotherapy to be studied in a clinical trial.

A clinical study of dietary intervention designed to treat children who are overweight has been developed as a result of the research of Dr. Steven Mittelman, who studies how fat cells protect leukemia against chemotherapy. His laboratory explores the link between obesity and poor outcomes from childhood leukemia.

Dr. Anat Epstein was the first to demonstrate that a gene called PID1 has important functions in childhood and adult brain tumors. With T.J. Martell Foundation funding she continues to focus on understanding how that gene regulates brain tumor growth and how it can be used to sensitize brain tumors to chemotherapy.

The CCCBD at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is the only program supported by the T. J. Martell Foundation that focuses solely on childhood malignancies. With just 4% of U.S. federal cancer funding devoted to childhood cancer, such philanthropic support is vitally important in the quest to cure children with cancer and leukemia. The T.J. Martell Foundation is a valued partner in the fight against childhood cancer, which is a source of hope to children and families courageously facing cancer.

Alan S. Wayne, M.D.
Director, Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases
Head, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Keck School of Medicine
University of Southern California

Our New Partnership with Grammy Award winner Pat Monahan

We are proud to announce that Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Pat Monahan as the National Spokesperson of the Foundation’s 40th Anniversary. Monahan is best known as the lead vocalist for the band Train.


From 1994 to 2006, Monahan released four studio albums with Train, In 2002, the band earned Grammy Awards, one of them for the song “Drops of Jupiter(Tell Me),” which was written by Monahan and inspired by his late mother who had died of cancer. Monahan’s close relationship with his mother and experiences with treatments provided by the T.J. Martell Foundation’s aggressive research and patient therapy programs allows him a very personal perspective and opportunity serving as the 40th Anniversary representative.

As the face of the 40th Anniversary of The T.J. Martell Foundation, Monahan will appear at the foundation’s 40th Anniversary Honors Gala in New York to be held October 15th, appear in select media programs on behalf of the foundation and lend his face and voice to help raise funds for continued research in the hope to find a cure for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS in our lifetime.

“I’ve seen firsthand the good that the T.J. Martell Foundation can do, and I want to stand beside them as they celebrate four decades of life-saving research,” said Monahan. “The work they’re doing is invaluable to anyone that suffers from these devastating diseases as well as their families. I hope to spread more awareness to the importance of their fight.”

“We are delighted that Pat Monahan will join us this year as the National Spokesperson of our important 40th Anniversary,” said Tony Martell, Founder & Chairman of the T.J. Martell Foundation. “Pat brings a very personal story about his mother’s fight with cancer to our organization and because of that has a deep understanding of the research we have funded. His artistry as a gifted musician and personal perspective on our organization makes him the perfect choice to help us launch the next 40 years of medical innovation for these horrible diseases.”

Monahan’s career also includes collaborations with Richie Sambora, Martina McBride, INXS, Cyndi Lauper and many others. He performed with The Hollies at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and contributed a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Maybe Baby” for their tribute album “Listen to Me: Buddy Holly (2011). He also appeared on the hit show The Voice and in 2013 started a podcast called Patcast where he interviews different people in the music industry and talks about his work with Train.


We are Proud of our Commitment to Excellence

BlogThe T.J. Martell Foundation has contributed to many scientific achievements in leukemia, cancer and AIDS research over the past forty years. We are also focused on funding the brightest minds that will be the leaders in scientific research of tomorrow.

To read more about the life-saving research we are funding with your support, please click here.

Two Very Personal Sarcoma Awareness Month Initiatives

July is Sarcoma Awareness Month, and we are proud to fund sarcoma research in loving memory of two very special individuals.


On April 9, 2013, Lindsay Walleman lost her less than three-month battle with sarcoma at the age of 28. Throughout Lindsay’s journey and even among her last wishes was an expressed desire to advance sarcoma initiatives. It is in Lindsay’s honor that the FTL Sarcoma Fund was born. This organization, in partnership with the T.J. Martell Foundation, seeks to expand national sarcoma awareness with fundraising initiatives geared specifically towards sarcoma research among the nation’s leading institutions, scientists and doctors.

Lindsay was a sparkling original in the music industry, one who bundled an adventurous spirit, effortless beauty, and unique style with her always radiant smile. She represented artists such as Faith Hill, Big & Rich, Gloriana, Frankie Ballard, Jana Kramer, Brett Eldredge, and Charlie Worsham. She lived with purpose – and encouraged those around her to always “live with love” and to “remember to love and cherish every moment, chase every dream, and never settle for anything less than you deserve in life!

Your donations to the FTL Sarcoma Fund are used to fund research efforts to help find a cure for sarcoma. Since 2013, we’ve donated more than $50,000 to the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, TN. Click here to learn more about our contributions.

2015-07-02 19.39.43Also in celebration of sarcoma awareness month, the 2nd Annual Chad Brown Memorial Poker Tournament held at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Los Vegas on July 2nd raised $80,000 for The T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer & AIDS Research.

Stars from Poker, Television, Film and Las Vegas all gathered for the celebration of professional poker player and television personality Chad Brown’s life. Brown lost his battle with sarcoma in 2014 at the age of 52. Maria Ho who hosted the tournament also walked away the winner. Within the poker community, Chad was widely regarded as “the nicest guy in the game, universally respected for his character, good nature, and affable personality.” This year’s tournament took place one year to the date of his passing. The funds raised will provide funding for clinical trials and new drug discoveries that will help save lives.

To learn more, please click here.

How Your Support Helps Fund Prostate Cancer Research

DonTindallMayo - small

Donald J. Tindall, Ph.D. is the Carl Rosen Professor in Urology, Departments of Urology, Biochemistry Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

“Funding from the T.J. Martell Foundation has been significantly relevant to my research efforts during the past 15 years. This is particularly true over the past 5 years when federal funding has been very scarce. Support from the T.J. Martell Foundation has allowed my laboratory to pursue novel and high risk studies for a better understanding of prostate cancer progression.

Furthermore, this funding has contributed to the professional development of a number of young investigators who are pursuing careers in prostate cancer research. Much of their success can be attributed to funding from the T.J. Martell Foundation. Now, many of these young investigators hold independent research positions as principal investigators at prestigious universities and research institutes. We are grateful for the support of the T.J. Martell Foundation for our efforts to understand the pathobiology of prostate cancer, to define markers for prognosis and to develop novel therapeutics against this devastating disease,” says our funded researcher, Donald Tindall, M.D. of Mayo Clinic.

Q&A with Dr. Max Essex of Harvard AIDS Initiative


Our funded research doctor, Max Essex, is the Lasker Professor of Health Sciences at Harvard University, as well as the Founding Chair of both the Harvard AIDS Initiative and the Botswana Harvard Partnership. He talked with Martha Henry, HAI’s Director of Communications, about mentoring students and young scientists and we’ve excerpted this interview here.

You’re primarily a research scientist. How important is your role as a mentor?

Extremely important. I think mentoring students to learn how to do research is one of the most important things I do.

How do you do that?

Essex teaching freshmen
Essex teaching freshmen seminar

You have to emphasize the importance of generating new hypothesizes to explain how or why a virus like HIV is causing a certain amount of pathology or damage in a certain way, or how the immune response can respond to it, or how it gets transmitted from one person to the next—all of those kinds of issues. But the important part of generating new knowledge is addressing new imaginative questions or hypothesizes. And you can only do that if you think in a multi-dimensional way. It’s probably the most important thing for students to learn to become successful scientists.

To read the rest of this interview, please click here.


Hats Off to Dad!

originalThis Sunday is Father’s Day, and we’re proud to be partnering with the team at Listia to raise funds for prostate cancer research through an exclusive online auction featuring hats and albums autographed by beloved celebrities like Thompson Square, Jason Aldean, Kellie Pickler, Kelsea Ballerini, Joe Nichols, and many more. Click here for more details and place your bid today!