Family beset by father’s death, child’s cancer


The death of a father just weeks after the cancer diagnosis of his 4-year-old child has left a West Marin family needing help from the community.

Roneil Powell, 43, died earlier this year in his sleep, believed to be due to a massive heart attack. Powell is survived by his wife, Alex Porrata, his 6-year-old daughter Yolanda and his son Ezequiel.

Powell’s death came less than a month after his son Ezequiel (EZ) was diagnosed with stage four embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

The Powell Family Foundation released a statement about the tragedy:

Less than 48 hours after bringing his family home from the hospital, still settling into his new unfortunate reality, Ron unexpectedly passed away in his sleep.”

Porrata was also laid off from her job. Her husband was the family’s sole source of income.

The West Marin community has rallied around the family, including a fundraiser dinner to be held at 6 p.m. this Saturday at the Elks Lodge No. 1108 at 1312 Mission Avenue in San Rafael.

All of the proceeds will be turned over to Porrata and her family to cover medical expenses and other financial needs.

Supportive community members also created a website,, for people to donate.

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