And then the unimaginable happened…


Just when this family had returned to their home from the hospital…


And just as they were starting to come to terms with what their new life would be like fighting the rare form of cancer that was discovered in their four-year-old son…


Ron Powell, EZ’s father, died suddenly Sunday morning on February 2nd, 2014.


He died in his sleep, with his family around him. They believe that he suffered from massive cardiac arrest.


Along with the entire West Marin community and anyone who knew Ron Powell, I am in complete shock and utterly heartbroken for this family. Ron was an incredibly kind person, with a beautiful smile and he was truly loved by everyone.


Please consider helping this family, as they now face an even harder road than they could have ever imagined possible. Ezequiel still has a long fight ahead without his father’s support.


And on top of learning her four-year old son has cancer, and then two weeks later losing her best friend and husband, Alex has to figure out how to financially support her family while remaining strong for both children.


Overcoming this nightmare seems impossible… but there is hope… over 30,000 people have visited this blog post in the past two days… if every person donated just $10… that would be an incredible gift of love and financial relief for Alex, Lu and EZ.


Donations can be made via PayPal or at any Wells Fargo branch by referencing the RONEIL POWELL MEMORIAL FUND. Please denote “Gift Donation” on your transaction. The Federal Taxpayer ID # for the Roneil Powell Memorial Fund is: 46-4722983, Wells Fargo, County of San Francisco, Ca.

The RONEIL POWELL MEMORIAL FUND was established for the deposit of gift donations by the community for the sole benefit of the Powell/Porrata Family during this cancer crisis. The RONEIL POWELL MEMORIAL FUND is not a California 501(c) nonprofit organization. Please consult your financial professional for tax advise regarding your gift.


Thank you for sharing this post and for supporting this family. Now please go tell your family you love them, because life is insanely short and it doesn’t give you any warning… the majority of the above photos were taken in March 2013… less than one year ago.

About the author paige green

Paige Green is a documentary and portrait photographer, whose storytelling approach to photography frequently addresses issues involving agriculture, land use, and food. Her work is featured in nine books and has been published in Glamour, National Geographic Traveler, New York Times Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Country Living, House Beautiful, and Culture. Paige lives in Petaluma, CA with a house full of boys.

All posts by paige green →


  1. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you.


  2. George-Ann Gowan February 3, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Dear Alex,
    I am Lauren DeVilbiss’s aunt Annie sending you sympathy, and prayers for strength and healing from Kent, CT. I hope that you can feel all the love and support streaming from your friends, old and new, who are holding you in their thoughts during this unfathomably difficult time. I am so sorry for your loss.


  3. Reblogged this on Deed of the Day and commented:
    Please help


  4. Alex, I don’t know what to say, but I’m really sorry for your lost and everything your family is going through. If their is anything my family can do for you please let us know…..


  5. There is a contest on Live With Kelly & Michael where a nominated Mom can win $100,000. Your post on their story would make a great entry. The deadline is just a few days away. Here is the link for the contest:


    1. Paige, I hope you don’t mind that I used the family photo you posted above as the photo for the contest. I did this yesterday. This blog you created inspired me. Thank you so much!


      1. I don’t mind at all. I hope the photos help bring National attention and funding to help Alex, Lu and EZ.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss, and will send energy and strength, especially for the momma.


  7. My Dearest Alex:

    This is Nando from Puerto Rico. I can’t begin to tell you how heartbroken I am with this latest turn of events. As your friend EZ Powell so eloquently put it, this tragedy could not have come at a worst time. It is so painful that my only consolation is to think that there must be a major divine purpose behind all of this. Hang on to the LORD. Get your stregth from HIM. Be Strong. Your kids need you.

    My heart goes out to you.

    With deepest sympathy,



    1. Nando, truly beautiful! AMEN!


  8. Michelle Novotny February 3, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Alex, My heart is broken for you, and I could only imagine what you are going through right now. You have such a beautiful spirit and strength about you, you will come out on the other side of this. You have a community behind you willing to support you in anyway needed. We will keep you in our hearts and prayers.


  9. I heard about your family through SMMC and along with so many other moms are holding you and your family in our hearts.

    Since I don’t know you personally, I am hoping some of your friends or family members will submit an entry for you on the Kelly and Michael contest noted above as they want nominations and need some of your personal info.


    1. Yolanda Porrata February 4, 2014 at 8:41 am

      Barbara, this is Yolanda, Alex’s sister. I’d love to help you enter Alex in the contest! Please email me at


      1. I have entered Alex in this contest and hope many others will do as well. I am concerned that PR requirements may be too much to ask of Alex at this time. But between her support network and hopefully some compassion from the Contest Administrators, perhaps she could win and manage the requirements of winning. I did put an appeal in my letter regarding this. Here is the link for the contest:
        There is a $100,000 prize. I know the family is going to need financial help with all the medical expenses and the care that Alex must provide at home, not just for her son, but also for her daughter. The deadline for this contest is loomiing – I believe it is Feb 7th.

      2. Michelle Novotny February 4, 2014 at 11:35 am

        I sent in an entry🙂

      3. Heather Thornton February 5, 2014 at 7:47 am

        Yolanda, please let me know how I can help in any capacity what so ever. Big big love ❤ hugs

      4. Yolanda, I know you must be reeling from the recent sad events. Do consider that Ron may have died from Brugada Syndrome and ask the doctors about it. My brother died from it at a young age in a very similar way.
        Sending Love,

  10. This is hard to take in……may strength find its way to you all. Maria


  11. Noel (Gonzalez) Ramirez February 3, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. My heart is broken with sadness because of all you are going through.


  12. Deirdre Nemmers February 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Dear Paige. Thank you for your images which so beautifully captured the magic of this family, and for your concise words describing this harrowing, dark journey. As you know, It’s being shared widely on FB, including by me. Who could have known that birthday party would be the last of its kind. How blessed we are you were there to document.


  13. Paige, thank you so much for these beautiful photos. They show how beautiful Ron, Alex – the whole family are. Ron is going to be missed by so many, and his memory will be a blessing to us. Alex you are in our hearts in this time of incredible grief.


  14. Ron touched so many lives. His wife, his children and family are in my prayers. Deepest condolences to Alex, as her whole world has been turned upside down. May your faith, your hope and your family surround you with all of the love you need to heal and be filled with strength to carry yourself and your babies through this difficult time. This is so unfair…somewhere, somehow…there has got to be a bigger plan. Do not lose your spirit.


  15. I live in Fairfax, but don’t know your family… But I can’t imagine the grief and shock you must be going through right now. I’ve just donated and shared your story, which is at least a little something I can do to help. Sending you love – may your healing be deep and sure and may your friends, family and community see you through…


  16. I am so sorry for your families loss. There are no words that can heal the difficult time you are going through. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.


  17. Elain Sprague Stuebe February 4, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Thank you so much for these beautiful words and images – what absolute heartbreak.
    We are updating the ezpowell site with some of them, hope you are good with that. There is a tremendous amount of outpouring for Alex and the kids, in large thanks to you and the kind of people Ron and Alex are.. thanks again.


    1. Thank you for your comment, Elain. I am so happy to contribute in any way I can. Please let me know if there is anything else you need.


  18. Dear Alex, You and your family are in my prayers and dreams of healing. Can’t say that I’ve ever met a brighter light than you and everyone I have talked to wants to be of help in any way they can. Let us know what you need now and in the future, it’s one of the only ways the people you touched can come to terms with this unthinkable situation. Much love always.


  19. My family and I send our condolence. Alex, we have you and your family in our prayers and sending lots of healing energy. Lots and lots of Love.


  20. thank you paige for posting these beautiful images that capture, as only you can, the beautiful love of this family. the heart of west marin community is broken.


  21. Awwwwww, prayers and love for this beautiful family!


  22. Dear Alex, Lu, and Ez,
    My heart goes out to you in this difficult time, and I want to share my story which is so strikingly similar to yours. My nephew got A.L.L. cancer at age 3 1/2. It was heartbreaking for all of us. Five years later after extensive chemotherapy and other treatments, he was cured– he is now a healthy 12 year old boy. I am sad to say that last summer, at age 38, his father/my brother, named Ezra, or Ez for short, suddenly died of cardiac arrest. There were no indicators of disease, just emotional distress. He played soccer several times a week and was fit and healthy looking. We discovered that there is a lot that doctor’s do not know about heart disease, because the autopsy revealed he had it severely. If you want to talk about what I found about his and our health, please email me at Much love, Kate


    1. Hi Kate, Thank you for sharing your family’s story. I am happy to hear your nephew is healthy and doing well but I am so sorry to hear about your brother, who I can’t believe was also called Ez. I am sending Alex an email with your blog post and email address.


  23. Alyson Sinclair February 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Alex – I also heard about your family through a posting on SMMC and express my deepest condolences for your loss and all that you have been through. It is unimaginable. I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers and made a donation to your beautiful son’s cause. Sending you many positive thoughts through this extremely difficult time.


  24. What a beautiful family…


  25. I do not know this family, but was moved by their hardship and loss. I made a gift donation today. However, the memorial fund shows name spelled Roneal, instead of Roneil, as on this site. Can someone please correct whichever is the incorrect spelling of his name? Love and sympathy to this beautiful family.


  26. Does anyone have connections to The Ellen Show? Might be worth submitting the story. Ellen often seems to reach out to help people in need.


    1. Michelle Novotny February 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      You can send a inspiring person nomination in on her website.

      I send in a request. Always worth a try🙂


      1. I sent this in to Ellen as well. So if she calls , who is the best family or friend to direct her agent to?

  27. This is a co- worker of Mrs. Lauren Ginsberg. My condolences to you and your family. May God give you comfort during this time.


  28. Christina Kerrigan February 5, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    a friend of a friend of a friend……My heart goes out to you and your family. We are praying for you and will donate what we can to help you and your beautiful kids. Sorry for your loss, it is indescribable and unimaginable. May you feel the love and prayers of many thinking of you during this time. XO


  29. This is a co-worker of Mrs. Lauren Ginsberg. Love, respect and sympathy to this beautiful family.😦


  30. Is there a way I can contact the family, or someone close to them, directly? My nephew was diagnosed with the same cancer at 7 months and he’s a healthy 15 year old. My family learned so much and maybe something could help. I would also like to help with driving or help while EZ is getting chemo. Our family had to travel from Puerto Rico to Boston for treatment so we know all that it entails. Thank you


    1. Hi Ashley, Thank you for sharing your nephew’s story. I am happy to hear your nephew is healthy and doing well. I am sending Alex an email with your blog post and email address.


  31. I’m so sorry for your loss. Just went to your fundraising page, made a donation and shared this post. Sending my best vibes and wishes to your little man and your family.


  32. i am so sorry. sending so much love to you and your family, dear alex.


  33. I am so sorry for your loss, sending powerful healing thoughts & much strength to you❤


  34. Sending prayers for and love to this beautiful family.


  35. This is such a heart wrenching story. With it’s beauty also comes the sorrow. I have a friend who lives in Northern California who has 2 beautiful kids. He lost his wife and best friend after years of her heroically living with brain cancer. Brian is such a great example of strength and endearing love for his wife and family. They had a beautiful story as well. I am going to pass this on to him because I feel like he could be a pillar for this family. it is just a feeling I have. My prayers are with Alex (whom I have never met before) and her children.


  36. This IS truly unimaginable. My heart breaks for this family. I will keep Alex, Lu, and Zeke in my prayers. May the memories of Roneil forever warm the hearts of all who knew him. I was honored to make a donation to help this family. May the peace of the Lord envelop this family in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.


  37. Joel Chasen & Beverly Cowan in Novato
    My sister Beverly & I are so deeply touched by this story of tragedy, hope, love and family and we would like to do what we can to help. God bless you and your beautiful family.


  38. Reblogged this on Nursing Thoughts and commented:
    Incomprehensible tragedy has struck a family in our West Marin community. You can help.


  39. Sending prayer for you and your children…. God will give you the strengh. You are a wonderful woman…


  40. […] the weeks since EZ was diagnosed with cancer, the boys have only seen each other two times. And that has been hard on both of […]


  41. The Bald Avenger April 15, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I am praying for this family….it broke my heart when I read about it…..I am a fighter against pediatric cancer by raising funds for research. I just….do not understand why such tragedy hit this beautiful family. I will donate when I am able (I read their story through an email from Morning Glory Confections). Blessings, strength, healing and peace xoxo


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