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:

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

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

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.

Rest in Peace

From Left to right: Jennifer Montgomery, Eddie Montgomery, Troy Gentry and Angie Gentry attended the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Nashville Honors Gala on February 27, 2017.

It is with profound sadness that we share the news that our beloved friend Troy Gentry was involved in a fatal helicopter accident today. Troy was a devoted supporter of The T.J. Martell Foundation who gave his time and talent whenever he was asked. As part of the Platinum selling duo Montgomery Gentry, Troy was as magical on stage as he was in person.  He never strayed from giving of his time,  his voice and his celebrity to help the Foundation in its quest to find a cure for cancer. He was, without a doubt, the true definition of “giving.”  Troy Gentry has left an indelible mark on the Foundation and all of us who had the opportunity to work with and know him. We have been blessed to call him a friend and will work hard  to  continue his  legacy through the work he has supported for years. The world has lost a very special man. We offer our most sincere condolences to his family, friends and fans and will forever keep him in our heart.

Rest in Peace

BobIt is with great sadness that the T.J. Martell Foundation announces the passing of longtime music industry executive Bob Heatherly and husband of the Foundation’s CEO, Laura Heatherly. A well-known personality in the music industry, Bob’s contagious personality and big smile was effortless. He left his mark on the country music industry and led the way for various artists who would later become household names. His career included positions at Columbia Records and as Vice President, Sales & Promotion for Atlantic Records, Nashville before joining Country Music icon Charley Pride in launching Music City Records. He served as President & CEO of Music City Records before retiring. Heatherly was often found by the side of his wife Laura as she tirelessly led the efforts for the T.J. Martell Foundation’s ground breaking cancer research and patient treatments. Bob Heatherly is a native of Newport, Arkansas but called Nashville his home for over 40 years. He is survived by his wife Laura and another love of his life, their dog Macy Gray. 

Visitation for Bob has been set for this Friday from 5:30 – 7pm, and there will be a graveside service on Saturday at 10am. Please click here for details. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Monday, July 17 at 4 p.m. at Green Door Gourmet, The Grand Barn, 7007 River Road Pike, Nashville, TN 37209. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the T.J. Martell Foundation.

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.

Rest In Peace

This weekend, longtime beloved ESPN anchor Stuart Scott lost his third bout with cancer, leaving behind two beautiful daughters and countless friends, family members, colleagues and fans across the country. He faced cancer with bravery and inspired many who also face the disease.

So today we choose to honor him by sharing what we think is his most touching quote about cancer and life: “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.”

Stuart Scott was 49, and his journey through cancer treatment was detailed in The New York Times. “Over the years, he entertained us, and in the end, he inspired us — with courage and love. Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, and colleagues,” said President Obama.