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T.J. Martell

T.J. Martell

It began with a promise I made to my dying son.

In 1973, my son, T.J. Martell, was a high school student battling leukemia. He asked me to raise a million dollars for cancer research so that “no one else will have to experience what I am going through.” Although I had no fundraising experience, I agreed.

Two years later, T.J. died at the age of nineteen, and that put my promise in cement. Soon after, I was joined by many of my friends in the music industry like Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, and Duke Ellington to hold a fundraiser at Buddy Rich’s nightclub in New York. We raised $50,000 and the T.J. Martell Foundation was born.

Over the years, we have kept the Foundation’s roots deep in the music industry and hundreds of volunteers have worked passionately with our staff to raise more than $270 million for leukemia, cancer and AIDS research which has been successfully leveraged into several billion dollars in additional funding from larger funding sources. We are proud of our long history and our reputation for innovation in fundraising and the research we support.

Tony Martell, Founder and Chairman

A SIMPLE MISSION STATEMENT GUIDES CANCER SUCKS!®

“Provide a forum for those who have lost loved ones to cancer while aggressively raising money to find a cure. No one should have to go through what millions of cancer victims, survivors and those left behind have endured.”

Cancer Sucks was established out of the pain and frustration that comes from losing a loved one to cancer, combined with the desire to do what we can to prevent anyone from experiencing the same loss. The 1996 death of Donna Holland White was a devastating event and one that will never be forgotten. While undergoing treatments, surgeries, and the emotional roller coaster that comes with cancer, Donna still had time to think of others by making arrangements to have her body donated to cancer research at the time of her death. Cancer Sucks is a living memorial started by her family and dedicated to Donna. The organization is run by volunteers that have all been touched by cancer and focused on raising as much money for cancer research as possible. Corporate partnerships fund our overhead expenses allowing us to donate ALL the proceeds from our events to cancer research. For more information on Corporate Partnerships, volunteer opportunities, merchandise, donations, or to start your own Cancer Sucks fundraising contact us.