The T.J. Martell Foundation mourns the loss of our beloved founder and friend, Tony Martell, who passed away Sunday, November 27th, 2016 at the age of 90. Tony taught us all how to keep fighting for what we believe in and to do what we can to help others in need. He never gave up on his fight to find a cure for cancer and through his passion, energy and perseverance the T.J. Martell Foundation has supported flagship hospitals in the United States and raised over $270 million for leukemia, cancer and AIDS research. Tony’s smile, energy and incredible devotion will be missed beyond words. We will work even harder now to keep his memory and dream alive and one day finding a cure for the diseases that he spent his life fighting. In honor of his son T.J. for whom the foundation is named, we celebrate the life of Tony Martell whose work saved lives, provided patients with innovative treatments and gave thousands of people hope. We will miss you, Tony.
In support of October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, country music artist Drew Baldridge has teamed with Super 8 to launch Rebound From Cancer, a month-long fundraising campaign.
“This is something that’s dear to my heart,” says Drew to Nash Country Daily. “My grandma got diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago, and as an artist, I’ve always wanted to use what I’m doing for something bigger than myself. I’ve always wanted to give back. Now I feel like I’m starting to get to that platform where I can help.”
MULTI-PLATINUM SELLING BAND DNCE CLOSES OUT THE 41ST ANNUAL NEW YORK HONORS GALA WITH AMAZING PERFORMANCE
The T.J. Martell Foundation Annual New York Honors Gala was held this week at Guastavino’s on 59th Street. The sold-out, highly-anticipated gala is held every year as a fundraiser for the foundation’s important work in cancer research. Last night was attended by stars of music and sports, New York’s most influential industry executives and important leaders in medicine. The event was sponsored by Barclays Center and raised $1.3 million for leukemia, cancer and AIDs research.
Tony Martell, the founder of the T.J. Martell Foundation spoke passionately from the stage as he officially opened the night. Having devoted his life to finding a cure for cancer, he announced how the foundation played a pivotal role in the recent news that leukemia is no longer the number one killer in childhood diseases. “We have some big news tonight that I am about to tell you,” said Martell, after he welcomed the crowd. Since the 1970s, the T.J. Martell Foundation has provided funding for the research that has directly resulted in this significant medical announcement. In fact, the T.J. Martell Foundation can claim that they were among the first and most consistent supporters of this critical research that will save millions of children’s lives. Along with the American Cancer Society and others, it was the T.J. Martell Foundation, Tony Martell and the team led by Dr. Jim Holland, who paved the way for children to beat ALL, or what is clinically known as Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. “It’s mind-boggling,” said Martell as he celebrated the lives of children that will be saved by this discovery and 41 years of never giving up on a promise he made to his son, T.J. in the hospital years ago to do whatever he can to find a cure.
Without funding from the T.J. Martell Foundation, the immunotherapy treatment responsible for such an important announcement could not have been discovered. The treatment, called CAR T-cell therapy is the immunotherapy that rally’s the body’s own defenses to fight the cancer.
Unlike other cancer advances, it has proven already to be stunningly effective in children and most common pediatric cancers. In many trials, many pediatric patients who had repeatedly relapsed saw their leukemia disappear. “We are making huge advances in research and the cure,” Martell added.
The gala was attended by stars of music and sports including actor Vincent Piazza (The Jersey Boys), WBA Middleweight Pro Boxer Danny Jacobs and players from the Brooklyn Nets including Randy Foye, Isaiah Whitehead and Caris LeVert. Honorees Mitchell C. Benson, M.D., Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Urology at Columbia University Medical Center, Russell Wallach, Live Nation President, Media and Sponsorships and Brett Yormark, CEO, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment spoke about the importance of the T.J. Martell Foundation’s work as they each accepted awards.
At 8:30 p.m., multi-platinum selling band DNCE closed out the night with a set that literally had the room shaking, guests dancing and an energy that could only be described as electric. The band performed “Pay My Rent,” “DNCE,” “Toothbrush,” “Body Moves” (their new single off of their self-titled debut album to release Nov 18) and “Cake by the Ocean.” They left the stage to the music of Queen’s “We are the Champions” giving one last reminder that the T.J. Martell Foundation is indeed the champion as “Music’s Promise for a Cure.”
Presenters for the evening were Dr. Ronda Bixon, MD, Record Executive Ron Lafitte, Republic Records Group President Charlie Walk, radio personality Craig Carton and Good Day New York’s Roseanna Scotto.
Additional images from the T.J. Martell Foundation 41st New York Honors Gala can be found at www.gettyimages.com.
All photo credits: Courtesy T.J. Martell Foundation
September 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.
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!
Despite 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.
The 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
The 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 www.tjmfwomenofinfluence.org.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
Recently 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 .