A lady of grace, style and candor

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)

“The T.J. Martell Foundation mourns the loss of First Lady Barbara Bush. ​Mrs. Bush was a lady of grace, style and candor. She and her husband, President George Bush, supported the T.J. Martell Foundation and appeared at our 2004 New York Honor’s Gala helping to raise much needed funding for cancer research. All of us at the Foundation have admired her for her resilience, her powerful presence and of course, her leadership among women. We stand with the nation in acknowledging how much we will miss her.” – Laura Heatherly, CEO, The T.J. Martell Foundation.

Ali McManus: An Inspirational Singer and Songwriter


Ali McManus performing for the crowd at Family Day.

One of our performers for this year’s 17th Annual New York Family Day was Ali McManus, a gifted singer and songwriter who shares her journey this way on her website:

“When you hear Ali McManus’s dynamic vocals, you’d be surprised to know her lung capacity is only 30%. Born 3 months premature and weighing 2lbs 7oz at birth, she was given a 50/50 chance to live. Now 20 years old, the Detroit born singer/songwriter has beaten the odds. A rare bone disorder has left Ali in a wheelchair since the age of 7.


Ali with In Real Life at Family Day.

Legendary producer Jack Douglas (John Lennon, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper) produced Ali’s debut album, due for release this fall. “I see her as an artist first. Her pure, authentic voice and magnetic personality light up the room,” he says. “She’s a natural — a true artist with old soul sensibility and a powerful message to share with the world.”

Ali has endured 10 surgeries, halo tractions, steel rods to fuse and straighten her spine, a full body cast, scoliosis, and osteoporosis that leaves her vulnerable to fractures and high-risk surgeries. “I don’t see myself as a person in a wheelchair, though,” Ali says. “I see myself as a regular person who just happens to sit down all day.”

Having spent much of her young life in hospitals, McManus credits music with saving her life. “One song means three minutes of no pain,” she says. “And I can say things with song that I can’t speak in words alone.”

Ali backstage with Jojo Siwa at Family Day.

Ali backstage with Jojo Siwa at Family Day.

McManus writes intimate original songs that reflect her life, aiming to connect with others through her lyrics and inspire them with her story.”

We know Ali inspired so many people at this year’s Family Day, and we were honored to have her join us. We wish her all the best with her music career and hope she stays involved with our foundation. Thank you, Ali!



The Inspirational Story of Cancer Patient Ben Jumper

BenHe supported cancer research for years — and now, Music Row leader Ben Jumper is fighting the disease himself.

“Your whole life changes the minute the word cancer is said.”

Surgeons removed half his kidney, and doctors, after five years of clean scans, started to use the word survivor.

Jumper started giving talks to raise awareness about cancer research, and to offer them hope.

The fundraisers he organized for T.J. Martell Foundation became much more personal.

And then, five months ago, the devastating lung cancer diagnosis – and 33 radiation treatments and 11 rounds of chemotherapy.

“I really in the last year can say how blessed I’ve been because I’m truly living my dream. I know it’s a cliché, but I get to say it and mean it. I have my days of depression through all this. But I love every moment I get to spend with the family,” says longtime T.J. Martell Foundation board member Ben Jumper.

Click here to read the full article in The Tennessean.

The Loss of a True Friend and Supporter

James HollandIt is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. James Holland, one of the T.J. Martell Foundation’s earliest supporters and a leading medical expert in the field of cancer research. Dr. Holland and Tony Martell were  brought together when Tony’s son T.J. was diagnosed with leukemia many years ago.  Dr. James Holland treated T.J. and then became a founding research doctor of the T.J.  Martell Foundation.

Over the past four decades Dr. Holland made incredible contributions to the Foundation by providing countless referrals and consultations to cancer patients along with leadership in the area of  ground-breaking research and new treatments.  Holland was a Distinguished Professor of Neoplastic Diseases at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He received many prestigious awards including the Lasker Award for his work in cancer chemotherapy, the  American Cancer Society National Award, the Distinguished  Scientific Award of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and many other honorary degrees.  He received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.

“Dr. Holland was a very fine gentleman and a magnificent physician. His impact on the T.J. Martell Foundation was profound,” said Joel A. Katz chairman of the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “He pioneered new horizons in oncology care and research. We will celebrate the gifts he shared with us for years to come.”

“The world has lost one of the most innovative, nurturing, and extraordinary experts in his field. Dr. Holland was a true friend to the Martell family, Tony’s foundation and the many patients he treated and cared for over the years,” said Laura Heatherly, CEO of the Foundation. “We will miss him.”


The loss of a pioneer

JimmieThe T.J. Martell Foundation ​has lost a remarkable woman who has played an integral role in the fight against cancer. Dr. Jimmie C. Holland, M.D., Wayne E. Chapman Chair in Psychiatric Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, passed away on December 24, 2017. Holland was a trailblazer in the field of medicine. As the founder of the sub-specialty of Psycho-Oncology in 1977,​ Dr. Holland launched the Psychiatry Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and under her leadership, Memorial’s Psychiatry Service became the country’s leading training and research program dedicated to the field.​ Dr. Holland received the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Pioneer Award at the Foundation’s Women of Influence Awards in 2015 for her leadership and vision of founding one of the most important areas of cancer research, Psycho-Oncology. ​”Jimmie was a major force in our scientific research platform for the T.J. Martell Foundation,” said Laura Heatherly, CEO of the Foundation. “She was a special leader, mentor and pioneer that helped many people. She will be sorely missed by us all.​”​

A Dear Friend Lost to Cancer

Bill-HearnWe are incredibly saddened to share the news that our longtime supporter, friend and former board member Bill Hearn lost his battle with cancer this past weekend. A highly respected music industry executive who led the Nashville-based Capitol Christian Music Group (CCMG) as its Chairman & CEO, Bill was a beloved and very important part of our Foundation for many years and we will feel his loss for years to come.
Among his numerous accomplishments, Bill received the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Frances Preston Lifetime Music Industry Achievement Award at our Nashville Honors Gala in 2015 for his incredible contribution to the music industry. Bill was a past National Chairman, National Board and Executive Committee Member of the T.J. Martell Foundation, and was involved in many other charities through the generosity of the Hearn Family Charitable Foundation.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Charmion Gustke Hearn, two sisters, a niece and nephew as they grieve his passing from this devastating disease. To learn more about Bill’s incredible life and the way he is being remembered by fellow industry executives, please visit: https://musicrow.com/2017/12/capitol-christian-music-group-ceo-bill-hearn-dies/

Message from Holly Hearn Whaley:

Thank you all for your kindness and prayers.  My big brother, Bill, was my super hero and beloved friend.  I can’t imagine this world without him. It’s taken two days for us to find a place for the memorial service and visitation.  Please spread the word for me.

William (Bill) Ray Hearn died December 10, 2017.  58 years old.

Visitation will be Wednesday, December 13, from 4 -7 p.m. at The Village Chapel church 2021 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN and services on Thursday, December 14 at 2 p.m. at Brentwood Baptist Church in Hudson Hall, 7777 Concord Road, Brentwood, TN 37027 (Connection Center entrance).

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Thistle Farms via Thistle Farms.org.

Marshall-Donnelly-Combs, (615) 327-1111.

Patient Spotlight: A Grateful Heart

Allison Ruth

Allison and Ruth Schwartz

When Allison Schwartz’s grandmother Ruth aka Bubbie was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer, she wasn’t sure where to turn. But thanks to her mentor in the entertainment industry and the help of the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Patient Services Program, Bubbie was able to connect with the appropriate doctor to aid in her care and treatment.

“Marty Diamond, head of East Coast Music for Paradigm Talent Agency, is a mentor of mine and has been involved with the T.J. Martell Foundation for years. As soon as I said I needed to talk to him about my grandmother who was diagnosed with cancer, he and his associate Sara Foster were on the phone making calls on our family’s behalf,” says Allison, who works at Paradigm in New York City. “Thanks to Marty and Sara, I was on the phone with the Foundation’s CEO Laura Heatherly within two hours, trying to get my grandmother into Sloan Kettering where she wanted to go.”

Allison Grandparents

Allison with her grandparents at Paradigm in New York City.

“Laura immediately called a contact at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who suggested that she reach out to an oncologist at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University who had recently transferred to continue her work in ovarian cancer research and care,” said Allison. My grandmother was able to be seen by Dr. Jane Meisel who has been a wonderful help to her. It was a miracle that Laura helped Bubbie find Dr. Meisel, because Bubbie and Papa, along with the majority of our family, actually lives in Atlanta, so she did not have to travel for chemo treatments. This made her as comfortable as possible, and she was surrounded by our family at all times.”

The T.J. Martell Foundation’s Patient Services Program helps cancer patients connect with oncologists around the country for care and treatment. Thanks to the program, Ruth was able to be treated by Dr. Meisel in Atlanta and have a special surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering.


Ruth during chemo.

“It’s miraculous, miraculous, miraculous to be able to have this surgery at Sloan Kettering. With the kind of cancer I have, they sent me to palliative care but I am a vital 79 years old and even the doctor at Emory couldn’t believe I was her patient,” explains Ruth. “With a lot of love, support, prayers, good doctors and the right referral from Laura, we got me in the hands of the right oncologist. After just three chemo treatments, the CT scan showed just one spot of cancer instead of 50 so now we’re going for surgery at Sloan with surgeons who many people consider to be the best in America. Hopefully that will give me an extended period of life. Without my granddaughter, I would not have gotten to Laura. And without Laura, I would not have been able to get into Winship and Sloan and I got in in just a few days. It’s been great and this referral has been so helpful. This doctor is brilliant and kind and loving. Our whole family loves and trusts Laura.”

Allison will be forever grateful for the guidance of the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Patient Services Program. “Because there were so many unknowns with a diagnosis like this, we felt so lucky that the Foundation helped us make a plan for something that doesn’t really have a plan. It’s so good to know that in this crazy world with so many terrible things going on, there are still such good people. I feel so fortunate to have access to the support and friendship they’ve given my grandmother and we’re forever grateful!”

The Loss of a Pioneer

LizLiz Smith was a pioneer who helped pave the way for women throughout the industry. The T.J. Martell Foundation had the privilege of honoring her at The Women of Influence Awards in New York in 2013. We will always remember her fierce energy, wit and exuberant personality, as well as her willingness to help the Foundation. She will be very missed. 

For Liz Smith’s obituary in The New York Times, click here.