Congratulations to our Wattpad Challenge Winner, Isabella De La Torre!


Isabella De La Torre’s story was the winning entry in our WattPad comment challenge.

Last fall, we partnered with Wattpad to encourage readers and writers to share their stories about how cancer has touched them personally. We are proud to announce that from over 200 inspirational entries, the winner is Isabella De La Torre, who shared this moving story about her mother’s diagnosis and strength.

Three years ago, I learned that cancer wasn’t elusive. It was everywhere. I saw how it tore apart people, broke families and  sickened once happy and healthy children. I saw how it spread and morphed into different forms, each as deadly as the previous one. I never thought it would find my family. Until one day, it did. I was only 13 years old, a young girl with a million dreams and hope for the future. Happy and healthy parents, and a wonderful sister. It all changed like a blink of an eye. My mother was diagnosed with colon/rectal cancer, in the summer leading into my Freshman year of high school. I remember feeling like the world paused the moment I found out, like I was stuck in a void full of vast confusion and denial. I prayed to God that it would end. I remember seeing my mother in tears a few day after she found out. I quickly rushed to her side and asked what’s wrong.

“How am I supposed to take care of you and your sister if I’m sick?” She sobbed, “What if I miss out on all your band and orchestra concerts? How will I be your mama?” I remember feeling confused. How could my mother, just diagnosed with a cancer that could possibly take her life, only care about how her children would be in this horrible time? I hardly remembered my mother worrying about herself, only worrying about her girls, hoping they could pull through in this time. I’ve never seen anyone so selfless, so devoted to her family that she would fight this terrible sickness not only for the sake of herself, but the sake of her children. When her friends and family would visit her, they would always comment on how well she looked despite her illness. That fight her in her eyes, that determination and will to live. Her faith in God pulled her through, and gave her the strength to still provide for her family despite going through chemo therapy, radiation and multiple surgeries.

I remember her describing the infusion room at the cancer center as a room full of ghosts, with people who were there physically, but mentally they were beaten, worn out souls hanging by threads. I remember seeing her that way, her body reduced to skin and bones, her eyes saddened and tired. Somehow, she managed to ask how school was, and wanted to hear everything about my day, despite how tired and sick she felt.

My mother is a woman of strength and compassion, and she is a warrior. I know God watched her through this battle, his eyes never left her. If you ask anyone who knows her, they would all agree that she is a fighter, and a selfless person.  Two years later, my mother is cancer free, determined to live life the fullest, and is still a loving “mama” to her children.

Every day I thank God for her. To those who struggle with terrible sicknesses, God has made you a warrior. With faith and determination, all things are possible. My mother made it through, and millions more are able to win their battles with the help of science and new innovations.

The world is waiting to hear your story. Fight on.


T.J. Martell Foundation Celebrates Cancer Research

TJM Consortium 2019



The T.J. Martell Foundation held its 24th Annual Scientific Consortium in Nashville on
Saturday, January 19, 2019.  The Scientific Consortium brings together cancer researchers from NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers from around the country to present their research and results.

T. J. Martell Foundation is the music industry’s leading foundation that funds innovative medical research focused on finding treatments and cures for cancer.


First Row – From Left to Right:  Laura Heatherly, T.J. Martell Foundation; Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center; Ingrid Mayer, M.D., Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center; Joanna Phillips, M.D., Ph.D. UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; Jennifer McQuade, M.D. M.S., M.A.,LAc, MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Second Row – From Left to Right: Michael Shen, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center; Madhav Dhodapkar, MBBS Winship Cancer Institute; Mitchell C. Benson, M.D., Columbia University Medical Center; Robert C. Bast, Jr., MD Anderson Cancer Center; Donald J. Tindall, Chairman of the T.J. Martell Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee; Dennis Lord, T.J. Martell Foundation National Board of Trustees and Scientific Committee Chair; Harold L. Moses, M.D., Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center; Carlos Cordon-Cardo, M.D., Ph.D. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Robert Seeger, M.D., M.S., Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Scott Hiebert, Ph.D., Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.




We’re hiring!

hiring_graphicThe T.J. Martell Foundation – the music industry’s leading cancer research foundation – is seeking an experienced, enthusiastic part-time special events professional to support and help execute fundraising events for the foundation’s dynamic and fast-paced West Coast office.  This is a great opportunity to be a part of our exciting plans in 2019!  Interested? Check out the job description here and follow the instructions to apply.  No direct outreach to staff, please.

TITLE:  Special Events Coordinator (Part-time)

STATUS:  Part-time (Approx. 20 hours week, February – November 2019, includes some weekends and evenings)

COMPENSATION:  Hourly; rate to be determined

HOURS AND LOCATION:  Work schedule to be determined before hire, with work hours largely to occur during regular business hours. With advance notice, employee must be available to work occasional weekends and evenings, as needed. Work to be performed at the Foundation’s offices in Encino, California, with some offsite meetings and events.


The T.J. Martell Foundation – the music industry’s leading cancer research foundation – is seeking an experienced, enthusiastic part-time special events professional to support and help execute fundraising events for the foundation’s dynamic and fast-paced West Coast office.  The Special Events Coordinator will also support various aspects of our West Coast operations, including assisting with administrative functions as assigned. The candidate should have a special events background, provide outstanding customer service, be an enthusiastic professional, and be able to build relationships with internal and external constituents and supporters. The Special Events Coordinator will report to the Executive Director, West Coast Region.


The ideal candidate must possess a passion and enthusiasm for our mission, a college degree, at least two years of fundraising or special events experience, a basic knowledge of the music and entertainment business, outstanding interpersonal, leadership and communication skills, experience working with budgets, strong organizational and time management skills and a demonstrated ability to complete tasks on time, to take direction, to be flexible, creative and proactive and to multi-task in a fast-paced small office setting.  The candidate will be expected to maintain confidentiality and to adhere to the highest levels of professionalism in their dealings for the Foundation and with its boards and supporters.  Strong competency with word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentation creation, design and internet and social media skills are required. Proficiency with graphic design software and the ability to create short professional videos (30 – 90 seconds) is a plus. Physical requirements include the ability to regularly sit, talk, hear and answer phones, work at a desk and computer screen for extended periods of time, walk and occasionally carry/lift up to 30 lbs., travel to off-site meetings and events.


The Special Events Coordinator will assist with the planning and execution of various fundraising events and perform other administrative duties, at the direction of the Executive Director, West Coast Region and others at the foundation.  Fundraising event support includes assisting with creating/disseminating promotional and presentation materials, creating solicitation materials for event sponsors, supporters, volunteers and donors, identifying/researching and tracking prospective donors and sponsors, conducting and tracking outreach to prospective donors and soliciting donors for tickets, tables, auctions and sponsorships,  compiling and maintaining event checklists, cultivating new resources for fundraising, serving as a liaison with vendors on event related matters, managing signage for events including step & repeats, auction boards, event programs, journals and menus, preparing nametags, giftbags, registration lists, seating cards, etc., assisting with Budget preparation and Board and Committee communications and meeting preparations, assisting at meetings and events as needed, with some evening and weekend time required and managing and performing various other tasks, as assigned.

Administrative duties may also include, but are not limited to answering phones, greeting guests, helping to maintain the office in good order, maintaining mailings lists, assisting with donor recognition activities, communicating with Board members, volunteers and supporters, assisting with event/meeting set-up and preparation and otherwise assisting with the effective operations of the West Coast office and the Foundation, as assigned. 

INTERESTED CANDIDATES should submit a resume, cover letter which includes hours of availability, and list of references to:  Screening of candidates will continue until the position is filled.



We mourn the loss of President George H.W. Bush

“The T.J. Martell Foundation mourns the loss of President George H.W. Bush. ​President Bush and his wife, First Lady Barbara Bush, supported the T.J. Martell Foundation and were honored at our 2004 New York Honors Gala, helping to raise much needed funding for cancer research. We extend our thoughts, prayers and condolences to the entire Bush family and the world.” – Laura Heatherly, CEO

NEW YORK - MAY 27:  Former President George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara talk with Singer Stevie Wonder as they pose for photographers before the start of the 29th Annual T.J. Martell Foundation Awards Gala at the New York Hilton May 27, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – MAY 27: Former President George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara talk with Singer Stevie Wonder as they pose for photographers before the start of the 29th Annual T.J. Martell Foundation Awards Gala at the New York Hilton May 27, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)

25 Music Based Charities for Your Next Fundraiser

25-Music-Charities-2-768x768We are honored to be included in Cyber PR Music’s list of 25 Music Charities for Your Next Fundraiser!

As Cyber PR Music founder and T.J. Martell Foundation board member Ariel Hyatt states, “It always feels good to help others and other musicians can always use help and support… We live in crazy times and the world needs more support, more love, and more empathy so choose a charity from this list and plan a benefit, shout them out on socials, do a Facebook fundraiser for your birthday, donate an instrument or go play bedside for a patient at your local hospital – it will feel great no matter what you do and you are contributing to our artist community.”

We are grateful for every one of our supporters and appreciate your help spreading our mission!

Good Deeds: Thank you, Patrick Mata!

Patrick Mata Good DeedsWe are proud to recognize Patrick Mata, Co-Founder of Olé Imports, as our Good Deeds recipient for the month of July. Patrick has been a long-time supporter of the foundation’s Best Cellars event series and his company generously donates proceeds from their delicious, dry Liquid Geography rosé wine to our foundation. Over the last five years Olé Imports has contributed over $89,000 to help fund our innovative cancer research programs.

“I believe that giving and generosity are not merely important, but imperatives to living well,” Patrick shares. “I have always felt extremely blessed but when we started the company from nothing back in 1999 and things started happening so fast, I wanted to be sure we continued to give.  Rather than give small amounts from everything, we thought it would be more impactful to create a wine with the specified purpose of charity, so we created the rosé called Liquid Geography.  My mom was first diagnosed with cancer ten years ago and continues the fight today.  Nearly everyone we know has been touched by cancer both through loss and learning about how precious life is.  This is why T.J. Martell Foundation is such a cornerstone of our charitable work, a cause we’ve now championed for five years.”

Thank you to everyone who supported our first Brew for a Cure in Southern California!

“We are thrilled and honored that so many of the region’s top restaurants and breweries have given their time and support to be a part of this important cause by donating a portion of sales or making a general donation,” says T.J. Martell Foundation CEO Laura Heatherly.

Brew banner

Brew 1 Brew 2 Brew 3 Brew 4 Brew 5 Brew 6 Brew 7 Brew 8 Brew 9For more photos, search #martellbrewforacure on Instagram.

Patient Legacy Lives On Thanks to Music Industry Help

TJM NY GalaWe are very proud to be featured in CURE Magazine. An excerpt of the article is posted below. To read the full article, please click here.

T.J. Martell was in his late teens when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Before he passed away in 1974 at the age of 21, T.J. told his oncologist, James Holland, M.D., FASCO, that he wanted to help others affected by the disease.

Holland explained that scientific research would be the catalyst to finding better treatments and saving lives, and that it would take millions of dollars. Instead of being intimidated by that amount, T.J. asked his father, music industry executive Tony Martell, to promise to raise $1 million dollars for research. Even though Tony Martell had no fundraising experience, he agreed.

The T.J. Martell Foundation was launched shortly after T.J. passed. Nearly 43 years later, it has become one of the world’s leading sponsors of innovative early-stage research into the treatments and cures for cancer.

“Since its inception in 1975, the foundation has raised more than $280 million for cancer research at leading research facilities and flagship hospitals across the United States, including the T.J. Martell Memorial Laboratories at Mount Sinai where Dr. Holland conducted his research until he passed away earlier this year,” Kate Fitzpatrick, Director of Communications and Patient Services for the T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer Research, said in an interview with CURE.

Fueled by the tragic loss of their son, Tony and his wife Vicky Martell built the foundation by working closely with their passionate friends in the music industry to continue his legacy and expand the foundation’s fundraising initiatives every year. Thanks to these like-minded friends, the organization grew across the country to markets like New Jersey, Nashville, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami and Atlanta.

While it was born from connections in the music industry, the foundation has found ongoing success beyond that community in the past four decades. “Over the years, we have kept the foundation’s roots deep in the music industry while expanding to many other industries,” said Fitzpatrick. “Today, the T.J. Martell Foundation is a vibrant organization with creative, passionate volunteers and donors who are committed to funding research that will one day lead to a cure for cancer.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Good Deeds!


Good Deeds Bob














Good Deeds is a grassroots initiative created by the T.J. Martell Foundation to highlight individuals who are raising vital funds for our cutting-edge cancer research programs.

We are proud to recognize Bob McGilpin as our first Good Deeds award recipient. Bob is an Amp Designer and Builder with GEMTONE Amplifiers. He has donated 14 amplifiers for T.J. Martell Foundation auctions that have raised over $20,000 for our cancer research programs over the past several years.

Bob is also a prostate cancer survivor, diagnosed when he was only age 40 thanks to the PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test created by the Foundation’s longtime researcher Dr. Mitchell Benson. The early detection made all the difference in survival and quality of life. “As a cancer survivor for 25 years now, the T.J. Martell Foundation is very near and dear to me.  I will never cure cancer but by building an amp and donating it to the T.J. Martell Foundation it just might help raise the dollars to bring Music’s Promise for a Cure one day closer,” says Bob.

“Bob and I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Dr. Benson at the Foundation’s Scientific Retreat Dinner in January of this year. Dr. Benson was very happy to meet a 25-year survivor, thanks to his great research and creation of the PSA test,” adds Bob’s wife Rochelle, who serves as Auction Manager for the T.J. Martell Foundation.

To all guys out there, please remember to get your screenings and have a very happy Father’s Day!

Q&A: Women of Influence Honoree Dr. Mindy Greenstein

We will celebrate our 6th Annual Women of Influence Awards Luncheon on Friday, May 11th in New York City at The Plaza’s Grand Ballroom. Hosted by Mary Calvi, Anchor, CBS 2 News This Morning and CBS 2 News At Noon, the Women of Influence Awards presented by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP honors extraordinary women who have pushed the boundaries by achieving outstanding goals in business, work, family, home, and health while inspiring women around the globe to live their dreams.

Mindy WOI SlideIn anticipation of this exciting event, we are honored to interview each of our honorees. Today’s interview is with Mindy Greenstein, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Psycho-Oncologist and Author. 

What does it mean to you to be chosen as a Woman of Influence and receive the Dr. Jimmie Holland Pioneer Award by the T.J. Martell Foundation?

Jimmie was a farmer’s daughter from Nevada, Texas, who created a new medical field, and helped lead the way for patient-centered care in all medical specialties. Receiving these awards mean so much to me on so many levels, as a psycho-oncologist, as Jimmie’s colleague and friend, and as a cancer survivor myself.  Such was Jimmie’s vibrancy that I still feel her presence in the world. The Dr. Jimmie Holland Pioneer Award will help keep it there while honoring the people who continue the work she started.

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

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. To paraphrase the author Margaret Atwood, “Good judgment comes from experience. But experience comes from bad judgment.” Or, as Samuel Beckett said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

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

I walk everywhere, and use any excuse to amble through the park. Nature, the trees, the sounds of birdsong are all rejuvenating. I try to behave mindfully, and to make sure to breathe deeply. And I look for reasons to laugh. Laughter helps bring down stress levels and can even increase pain tolerance, even more so when you’re laughing with others.

To help honor Mindy and our other outstanding honorees, please click here.