Fighting cancer: Phoenixville mother raises $300K in honor of son

Team MartDogg raised almost $50,000 in 2013 for brain cancer research through Race for Hope - Philadelphia, and nearly $300,000 since 2006. Image provided
Marty Mannion's cousins, John and Fernanda, in their Team MartDogg shirts at Race for Hope - Philadelphia. Marty Mannion passed away in 2006 from brain cancer and his family and friends have raised nearly $300,000 in his memory. The team shirts feature a tiger drawn by Marty when he was a boy. Image provided.

Marty Mannion was entering the prime of his life in 2004 as a thriving 18-year-old freshman at Villanova University when he started getting very painful headaches. He visited a doctor, thinking that he was simply suffering from stress headaches or migraines, yet he was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme or (GBM) a very aggressive form of a brain tumor.

Just one year and one week after that doctor’s visit, Marty passed away from brain cancer.

Catherine Mannion, Marty’s mother and a Phoenixville resident since 2009, formed Team MartDogg in 2006 to raise money for a cure through the yearly fundraising event Race for Hope – Philadelphia.

“Marty was very smart and an all-around great kid,” said Mannion, “he was given the nickname MartDogg at college from his friends, it just stuck.”


Team MartDogg has over 125 members, including Marty’s family and his friends, who travel in from places such as Ohio, Massachusetts, California and Florida. Since the team formed they have raised almost $300,000 for GBM research.

“As a mom it has been an honor to raise so much in Marty’s name. All of the money goes toward research and advocacy – there have been very few advances since 2006,” Mannion said. “(GBM) gets less funding than many other (cancer research efforts), which is why (Race for Hope) is critically important. It is an emotional event. All of us wear our team MartDogg shirts and together we celebrate life.

For the 2013 Race for Hope in Philadelphia, which took place on Nov. 3, Team MartDogg raised $43,217 according to Mannion’s calculations.

“There is another $1,500 gift coming, which will bring our total to almost $45,000,” she wrote in a post-event email to the Phoenix Reporter & Item. “Race day is certainly special. This is my son’s legacy, and he is doing a great job.”

Find out more at - additional donations are being accepted until the end of the year) and by visiting the National Brain Tumor Society at