Q&A With Rosanna Scotto, Women of Influence Honoree

 Rosanna Scotto Social MediaWe will celebrate our 7th Annual Women of Influence Awards Luncheon on Friday, May 10th in New York City at The Plaza’s Grand Ballroom. This exciting event 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. Every year, we love to chat with our honorees in the weeks leading up to our Women Of Influence event about their advice for other women and their connection to health, wellness and cancer.

Today we are proud to feature a Q&A with Rosanna Scotto, who will be honored on May 10th at The Plaza. 

  • What does it mean to you to be chosen as a Woman of Influence by the T.J. Martell Foundation?

I am so excited to be honored by this wonderful group and alongside such amazing women. I had the opportunity to meet Tony Martell a few years ago and his passion and commitment to making a difference in the fight against cancer have inspired me to do my part.

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

Don’t be afraid to fail. After navigating the television news world for over 30 years, I realize that my mistakes and disappointments helped shape my career. You need to fail in order to succeed.

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

I have never worked harder at health and wellness than I do now. I push myself to exercise several times a week and I practice meditation daily. It is difficult to shut off the work commitments, emails and social media that can overwhelm my day, but I have realized that taking 20 minutes to meditate makes me calmer and more focused.

  • If you are comfortable, please share one way in which your life has been affected by cancer.

I’ve had my own health scare. I’ve lost family to cancer.

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

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.

In Loving Memory

tony40thThe 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.

But Tony Martell Knew Me: Guest Blog Post

Bob Brown is an inspirational speaker and the author of “The Ride Of My Life”, the widely acclaimed memoir of his journey with pancreatic cancer.

Being diagnosed with cancer is a devastating and lonely moment.  No matter how sizable your support team, or who is in the room with you at the time, when the Doctor says “You have stage 3 inoperable pancreatic cancer,” you alone are forced to absorb that most difficult news.  My wife Linda was with me that fateful day in March 2008, and considering the immediate and overwhelming fog that overtook my brain, I was lucky to have her to physically compose and escort me back to our home.  During that ride in the car, my mind searched for the beginnings of a plan.  I knew that we would need to do a lot of research, reach out to a bucket load of doctors, and look for support wherever we could find it.  As I sat in the car watching the road go by, I had no idea who Tony Martell was….but he knew me.

The doctors explained that my treatment options were few, the success rate even less and that the short term prognosis was very grim.  They wouldn’t even discuss the long term anything.  They created a plan to try and shrink the tumor before it spread.  They hoped to get me to an operable status so that the toxic villain could be cut from my body.  The treatments called for chemotherapy, to be followed up with radiation supplemented with additional chemo.  I was determined and my spirits were high.  Those of my doctors were anything but.  Clearly this was going to be a long shot, against the cancer with the lowest survival rate.  Looking forward even a little bit meant I was moving into miracle territory.  I didn’t know a whole lot about miracles….but Tony Martell had seen quite a few of them.

I began the treatments with a fierce positive attitude, determined that I would beat the odds.  I prepared for the side effects which I was told would be bad.  That wasn’t entirely true, as they were actually much worse.  As the treatments extended into weeks and then months, I was rendered pretty much useless.  I made it to the treatments, but spent the remainder of time in bed totally exhausted.  Tony Martell spent those months just as he had most of the past 30+ years, tirelessly leading an organization dedicated to raising funds and supporting research to rid the world of leukemia, AIDS, and all types of cancer.

Well the treatments didn’t work.  The tumor shrunk only a little bit, and my oncologist and surgeon delivered the bleak news: “There’s nothing more we can do for you.”  My wife and I could not accept that, and we searched far and wide for other opinions.  We found a surgeon at Columbia/New York Presbyterian Hospital who saw my case differently and was willing to expand the boundaries of what was normally attempted.  If I was willing to accept the elevated risks of this surgery, then yes, he was willing to try.  I agreed, and he performed a fourteen hour “whipple” surgery that saved my life.  Today, five years after diagnosis, I am one of the few…a long term survivor of pancreatic cancer.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Columbia/NYP is one of the hospitals receiving funding from the T.J. Martell Foundation to advance innovative research and treatments.     Nor should it come as a surprise that I was helped by a foundation with which I had had no previous contact.  For as a cancer patient in need of the best innovative care, The T.J. Martell Foundation knew me.

When I was asked to speak at the Annual Gala in New York last year, it was my opportunity to give back to Mr. Martell and show my gratitude for everything he does.  I approached him, stuck out my hand and introduced myself.  He looked at me with a big smile and said “Hi Bob Brown, I know all about your story; you’re one of the luckiest guys in the world.  You beat pancreatic cancer.”

Like I said, I didn’t know Tony Martell, but he sure knew me.

Bob Brown is an inspirational speaker and the author of “The Ride Of My Life”, the widely acclaimed memoir of his journey with pancreatic cancer.