Meet Tony Martell, a storied senior executive in the music industry who discovered and worked with some of the greatest music talent of our generation. Tony started out as a radio personality and then climbed the corporate ladder until he became President of Epic & Associated Labels which was the crown jewel of CBS Records (now Sony Music Entertainment). Tony helped guide the careers of dozens of marquee artists including Joan Jett, Ozzy Osbourne, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Electric Light Orchestra.
As much as a leader Tony was in the world of music, his true passion was his family where he treasured his wife, and two children, T.J and Debbie. In 1975 T.J. was a high school star with a passion for drumming and golf, and was of course the apple of Tony's eye. So, for Tony one of the most devastating days of his life was hearing from T. J's doctor that his son was diagnosed with leukaemia, and Tony's world came crashing down.
The Martells scoured the medical world for any and all treatments, but 43 years ago Leukaemia treatments were not nearly as advanced as they are today, and sadly there was no cure for T.J.. Knowing his predicament, and days before T.J. lost his courageous battle, he sat with his dad an offered up a dying wish.
He asked his dad to use his formidable music industry relationships to raise one million dollars for cancer/leukaemia research so that perhaps one day no father would have to say goodbye to their son as Tony was doing now. Tony honestly had no idea how to fund raise, but of course he considered his son's eyes and promised with all his heart he would fulfill T.J.'s dying wish.
In that moment, the seed of the TJ Martell foundation was born.
As the years went by, Tony's passion for raising money for research never faded. He searched high and low for every dollar to make sure the T.J. Martell Foundation would thrive. And it did. For over 43 years, the Foundation has continued to fund cutting edge cancer research at flagship hospitals across the country. The Foundation has raised nearly $300 million dollars and has been the catalyst for early-stage research that has turned into drug discoveries, clinical trials and immunotherapy opportunities. With the help of the music industry, T.J.'s legacy continues with the promise of a cure.
Help keep music's promise for cancer. Donate here.
There is nothing harder than saying goodbye to a child, and Tony's story continues to inspire and touch the lives of so many. The T.J. Martell Foundation raises millions of dollars each year—all towards research that is dedicated to finding a cure for cancer.
Wattpadders, now the T.J. Martell Foundation wants to hear from you! It's our turn to come together as a community and show our support through the one thing we all love—stories. Show your support by commenting below and sharing your inspirational story of someone in your life, who has or is going through cancer. Share what you most admire about them on their journey and how they inspire you. If you don't have a personal connection to write about, simply share a heart warming piece that will help uplift others who are in this situation.
Your story should be uplifting and aimed at spreading positivity. The prize? Your story will be featured on the T.J. Martell Foundation website, allowing your work to inspire and touch the lives of individuals all over the world. In addition to being featured on the site, Wattpad will give your story a shout out, along with some monumental T.J. Martell swag!
Entry deadline is December 31st at 11:59 pm EST.
One entry from the United States will be chosen!