Team Martina: Finding a Cure for Cancer
By: Markos Papadatos, Contributing Editor
Team Martina consists of friends and fans of country music superstar Martina McBride who wanted to participate in the ongoing fight against cancer.
The team was founded by Ms. Sheila Jones (from Alabama), and it is led by Jones and her co-captains Ms. Amy Schmidlein of Georgia and Ms. Tracy Weaver, McBride’s director of fan relations. Ever since the team’s inception in 2011, they have raised over $65,000.
When asked why this cause is so important to her, Jones responded, “I have lost several young friends in my life due to cancer. It’s very shocking and sad to see so many people that I know being affected by this disease. We are fundraising in honor of Taira Baughman. She is a young mother of four children and she is a stage 4 breast cancer patient right now. She is in the video for the song ‘I’m Gonna Love You Through It.’ You will know her when you see her, she says she was diagnosed on ‘Tax Day,’ which was April 15. It’s incredibly hard to watch this young family in a battle with cancer. We want to do something about this disease.”
These team members came from nine states and sixteen different cities and they walked five miles to raise breast cancer awareness in honor of McBride’s inspirational single “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot Country Charts. The emotional tune, co-written by bluegrass songstress Sonya Isaacs and her husband, Jimmy Yeary, pays homage to those fighting cancer, as well as their family members.
Regarding Martina’s single “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” Jones stated, “The whole idea behind loving people through hard times in their life just really sticks with my heart. While I personally may not be able to find a cure for cancer, I know that I can touch lives and make it a little easier for people by doing small things. Cancer patients need all the support they can get. We just need to let them all know we are with them and even if I can only give a little. You never know what dollar will be the one that tips the scale in finding a cure for cancer. It’s coming! Together we can do a lot.”
They met on Oct. 15, 2011, and participated in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at the L.P. Field, situated in Nashville, Tennessee.
Last year, they surpassed their fundraising goal ($11,111.11) in honor of McBride’s eleventh studio album “Eleven,” which was released on Oct. 11, 2011.
Two months later, in December of 2011, they assisted OperationLove.net, where they were accompanied by Martina McBride, and they delivered Christmas stocking to over 1,200 chemotherapy patients across the country. Particularly impressive about McBride and her husband, John, is that they matched that amount and as a result, the team has raised well over $22,000 in the event. In March of 2012, they organized the Taira Baughman Benefit concert which assisted a stage 4 breast cancer patient and her family cope with the high medical expenses. The concert was successful and raised $12,000.
On their future plans for Team Martina, Jones revealed, “In January, Martina’s fans will get to personally participate alongside Martina in the fight against cancer at ‘Sound Check For A Cure.’ Fans who were part of the fundraising team for Martina’s breast cancer grant will get to attend the private sound check before her concert in Morgantown, WV. They will get a chance to have a team photo taken with Martina. Team Martina will also treat a special cancer patient to a dream experience that day with Martina.”
Most recently, they have partnered with the T.J. Martell Foundation to help raise money for breast cancer research. To make a donation to their “Sound Check for a Cure” to help beat breast cancer, click this link: https://tjmartell.myetap.org/fundraiser/teammartina/aboutEvent.do
To learn more about Team Martina, be sure to check out their official website www.teammartina.com and follow them via their Twitter page https://twitter.com/teammartina2011. Photo Credit: Shelia Jones