Country in the Rockies XI Supports Martell Foundation Efforts ‘To Change and Save Lives’

Posted in News on February 9, 2005
Country in the Rockies XI Supports Martell Foundation Efforts 'To Change and Save Lives'

Country in the Rockies, the signature fund-raising event for the T.J. Martell Foundation's Nashville Division, brought music fans to Club Med Crested Butte, Colorado (February 16) with a mission to change and save lives. Supported by founding sponsor BMI, presenting sponsors Chevrolet and Club Med, and nearly 50 other corporate, musical, media and associate partners, CITR XI welcomed the largest crowd yet – 410 participants, almost 140 of them newcomers – for a week of skiing and music.

(Front) Big & Rich's John Rich and Big Kenny, (back) Chevrolet's Phil Caruso, T. J. Martell Foundation Board member Greg Oswald, Gretchen Wilson, CITR founder Frances Preston and Nashville Martell Foundation Executive Director Roxanne Johnson

Former BMI President & CEO Frances Preston, who serves as president of the Foundation's board and as a Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center board member, hosted the event she founded 11 years ago. Proceeds support innovative research at the VICC's Frances Williams Preston Laboratories.

Preston Labs Director Dr. Hal Moses, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Director Dr. Ray DuBois, Kevin and Linda Martin, Frances Preston, and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Board chair Orrin Ingram

Musical highlights included concerts in the Club Med Theater by Charlie Daniels, Kenny Loggins, Kathy Mattea, 2004 BMI Country Songwriter of the Year Casey Beathard, Jamie O'Neal, and MuzikMafia members Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich, James Otto, Jon Nicholson, Cowboy Troy and Rachel Kice. Other writers and artists who performed were Deborah Allen, Aaron Barker, Suzy Bogguss, Chuck Cannon, Gary Chapman, Doug Crider, Dean Dillon, Bob DiPiero, Scotty Emerick, Doug Johnson, Robert Earl Keen, Crosby Loggins, Gary Morris, Frank Myers, Paul Overstreet, Leslie Satcher, Jeffrey Steele, Jon Vezner and Lari White.

CITR participants saw first-hand the impact that cancer has on families ñ and the importance of the research that their generosity supports ñ as they got to know Don and Margaret Darnell and Kevin and Linda Martin, guests of the event. The Darnells' daughter Katie, who died of brain cancer in 2003, gained fame for her song "Rescue Me," recorded by John Rich of Big & Rich and Wynonna Judd. Kevin Martin has advanced colon cancer as the result of an inherited condition called FAP; one of the Martins' five children is known to have inherited the condition.

The week was punctuated by emotional highlights surrounding the Darnell and Martin families. Chevrolet presented Katie Darnell's parents with a new Silverado. The Darnells also joined Big & Rich on stage as part of Performances by Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson Presented by Chevrolet. (To learn more about Katie's story, see the VUMC Reporter's Feb. 9, 2001; April 13, 2001; and June 20, 2003 online issues).

As for the Martins, they embraced all that Country in the Rockies has to offer -- skiing, riding snowmobiles, horseback riding, cocktail social hours, concerts and late-night guitar pulls -- with the same tenacity and enthusiasm with which they are attacking Kevin's cancer. (Click here to read the Martins' first-hand account of their trip).

Since 1993, the Martell Foundation has enabled physicians and scientists of the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center to conduct cutting-edge research and quickly transition promising new findings from laboratory benches to patient bedsides. To date, the Nashville Division has raised $13 million in support of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's pilot projects. In turn, these contributions have been leveraged to obtain additional funding ñ totaling more than $100 million ñ from public and private sources to further advance ongoing efforts to alleviate suffering from cancer.


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