Vanderbilt Researchers Find Potent Genetic Risk Factor for Breast Cancer

Researchers at Vanderbilt University have found a powerful new genetic risk factor for breast cancer.

Using data from population-based studies of women in Shanghai, China, Jirong Long, Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine, and colleagues discovered a deletion in a cluster of genes, called APOBEC3 genes, that are known to trigger DNA mutation and which have previously been implicated in cancer.

If a woman has a deletion in one of the two sets of genes she inherits from her parents, her risk of breast cancer increases by 31 percent. If the deletion is present in both sets of genes, her risk increases by 76 percent.

“This is the first copy number variation or CNV identified for breast cancer and is one of the strongest common genetic risk variants identified so far for breast cancer,” the researchers reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

For the full article, please click here.

Getting in Shape for the New Year

It is amazing how we all dash through the holidays, ring in the New Year and realize that most of us have a resolution in common – to get healthy, fit and to lose weight.I tend to fall into that same group of feeling that it’s time to revive myself and have a new outlook on my well being.  In fact, today I was at the YMCA for a workout and found the gym to completely full of action – people everywhere working out!

What it boils down to is that we all need to take time out for ourselves.  As Americans, we work harder and longer hours than ever.  We need to slow down and carve out some time to work out, cook something healthy for dinner and relax.  One of my other resolutions was to go to bed early and get a full eight hours of sleep so I can tackle the day ahead.

One of the other key things that we all need to do is to get our annual checkups.  I am a true believer that early prevention is the best prescription to better health.

While you are tacking those New Year’s resolutions, remember to take time for yourself and enjoy every minute of it.


Laura Heatherly with Nashville’s Mayor Karl Dean. Mayor Dean started a great program called Walk 100 Miles to get people in Nashville moving!

Happy Holidays – Give the Gift of Life!

We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us in our mission of funding cancer and AIDS research this year. It’s been quite a year and we couldn’t have done it without you!

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please look over the exciting achievements in our Year in Review brochure and share it with someone you know who hasn’t yet been introduced to our Foundation.

Still searching for the perfect holiday gift for your loved ones? Look no further – it’s here! Make a tax-deductible donation in their honor to our life-saving research programs, bid on one of these amazing autographed guitars on or buy tickets to one of our fabulous fundraising events already scheduled for 2013. Thank you for giving the gift of life!

From everyone here at the T.J. Martell Foundation, we wish you a very happy holiday and healthy new year!


Stress can play a major part in your health and well being.  I have learned as a business professional that I need to have balance in my daily routine to relieve stress.

As part of my daily routine, I try to get exercise as it gives me the opportunity to organize my day and business activities.  I also try to do something fun when I’m home from traveling such as cooking or oil painting.  Reading is also a good way to wind down after a full day.

For those fighting cancer or any other sickness, stress can play a major part in a person’s wellness.  A close girl friend of mine fought breast cancer a few years ago.  It was a very stressful, scary time for her, however, each time I spoke to her, she seemed to always have a positive attitude and sounded stress free.  What kept her going was support from family and close friends, exercise, and believing in miracles.

As we continue with our busy lives each day, slow down for a few minutes.  Take a deep breath and look around you at the beauty of your surroundings.  Try to read a book, go to the park or call a close friend to catch up.  Laugh a little and enjoy your day.



Honors Gala – New York

Today is our signature, national event, the T.J. Martell Foundation’s 37th Annual Honors Gala honoring Russell Simmons, Randy Jackson, Del Bryant and Edward Walson.

It is amazing that the T.J. Martell Foundation has been running this event for the past 37 years to raise important funds for leukemia, cancer and AIDS research.  I am in awe of Tony Martell who has worked non stop to help others.

I know tonight will be a wonderful event.  For those of you who are not able to attend, you can still make special contribution through our website or go to and type in T.J. Martell in the search area to bid on some of our auction items.

Have a great day!

Daily Exercise

This is a great running shoe as it glows in the dark!

It has been such a pleasure being in New York for a week as it has given me the chance to walk to work each day.  When at home, I don’t have the opportunity to walk to work, so I make a point of running or walking at least 4 miles four times a week and go to the local YMCA for strength training.

For those of us who are constantly thinking about managing our health, daily exercise is important for our mental being as well as our physical maintenance.  I have found that having a daily routine is best.  Here are a few tips to help:

  • Start an exercise journal and track your progress
  • Find a neighbor or friend to run or walk with you
  • Join an exercise or running group
  • Create a daily routine – if you exercise early in the morning, it will help you to be more  productive at work and you will have it done so there are no excuses after work!
  • Buy new shoes and running outfits – this is one of the best ways that gets me motivated
  • Always run with an i.d. – I wear Road ID (

Enjoy the fall weather and get out and get moving!!  Laura



Laura Heatherly

I want to personally welcome you to the T.J. Martell Foundation’s brand new website – thank you for spending a few minutes learning more about us! We have had a busy summer developing this site, so we are very excited to unveil it and hope you find it helpful. Whether you’re looking to attend a fun and exciting fundraiser, want to make a donation, or need to get cancer help, you’ve come to the right place. Please look around, and let us know your thoughts on our new site!

– Laura Heatherly, CEO