Blog: TJ Martell Foundation Family Day
With a plethora of street fairs and parades in different neighborhoods around Manhattan yesterday, some of the biggest bands in the teen pop world converged together on the west side to help raise money for one of the music industry’s largest charitable foundations. The T.J. Martell Foundation’s 12th Annual Family Day turned the concert hall at the Roseland Ballroom into a massive children’s playhouse, replete with arcade and carnival games, inflatable rides balloon artists, and even face painters. While parents were running around the man floor of the event chasing unruly children, the kids themselves were having the time of their lives.
The story behind the foundation’s beginning is both heartwarming and moving. In 1973, T.J. Martell was a high school student, stricken with leukemia. Wishing that no one else would have to endure the trials of his disease, he asked his father, music industry executive Tony Martell to raise one million dollars for cancer research. Two years later, T.J. had succumbed to his illness at just 19 years old, but the foundation bearing his name was born. Since its humble beginnings, the T.J. Martell Foundation has raised more than $250 million in research funds for cancer, AIDS, and leukemia- aggressively seeking to eradicate three diseases deemed unbeatable, with the help of hundreds of non-profit workers and volunteers. Specifically targeting early stage research and the development of typically underfunded clinical treatments for patients, the Foundation leverages its relationships with celebrities and musicians to fundraise bring about an awareness to the cause.
Their annual Family Day has been one of the Foundation’s most successful events and has raised over $3.5 million since its inception. With last year’s sold-out event raising over $750,000 with the help of The Jonas Brothers, the Foundation had some big shoes to fill, but still managed to pull out all the stops for this year’s event. Emceed by Z100’s Trey Morgan, this year’s event would honor Big Time Rush, a foursome that are rock band by day, and stars of a Nickelodeon television series of the same name by night. The afternoon would be capped off by the band’s headlining performance, after other pop bands of the same ilk- We The Kings, The Ready Set, and Allstar Weekend, similarly from the Disney Channel- would open the show.
The afternoon was another complete success, as tickets were completely sold out well in advance of yesterday’s show. LocalBozo.com was invited to the red carpet where each of the young band members seemed genuinely excited and pleased to be a part of the event- graciously taking pictures with and hugging the happy fans that support them. As hustling parents would weave in and out of bathroom and food lines, hand in hand with their children, and raucous applause would fill the room before each band’s performance, the importance of the Foundation’s Family Day and raising awareness for their research was immeasurable. I’m sure somewhere T.J. himself was looking down, smiling at the success of the very foundation his wish helped to create.
- Jane Van Arsdale