The last that many of us heard of Alexandra Porrata, her joy at being crowned homecoming queen at Tomales High was tempered by the battle with recurring cancer fought courageously by her boyfriend, homecoming king Andy Azevedo.
That was a long time ago. Alex and the world lost 19-year-old Andy, a beaming, strapping and remarkable son of Two Rock ranchers, in 1991.
The Sonoma-Marin community that rallied grandly for Andy and his family now reaches out to Alex and hers.
In quick succession, Alex learned that her 4-year-old son, Ezequiel, aka Zeke or EZ, has an advanced cancer and she lost her husband.
Ron Powell died of an apparent heart attack Feb. 2 at the family's home in Inverness. He was just 43. Alex now is on her own to provide for EZ and 4-year-old Yolanda and to fight for her boy's life.
There is much going on to assist them, including a most unusual hamburger sale.
Fellow Tomales High alum Adam Parks of Victorian Farmstead Meats is talking up "An EZ Pound of Ground." He and his friends with Tara Firma Farms and BN Ranch are selling one-pound packages of ground beef or turkey for $20 and donating all the proceeds to the Porrata family.
"I wanted to do something that people didn't have to think about," Adam said.
Folks can simply buy an "EZ Pound" at Adam's butcher shop in the new Community Market in The Barlow in Sebastopol or at any one of several farmers markets. Adam also is game to ship the meat.
Donations to Alex and her kids also can be made through www.ezpowell.org, or to the Roneil Powell Memorial Fund at any branch of Wells Fargo.
Adam Park has been struck by how many donors give him 20 bucks or more for the Porratas and tell him to sell the pound of round to somebody else.
PEOPLE ARE GOOD, and hereabouts they're always joining up and doing something creative to raise money for neighbors in the midst of hard times.
Cellist extraordinaire Joel Cohen — "Ukiah Joel" — will be on the minds of music lovers at an all-star benefit concert Saturday evening at Ukiah's SPACE Theater.
Joel fell seriously ill after acting as concertmaster at a recent performance of the Healdsburg Philharmonic.
Tickets for the "Concert for Joel" are available at the Mendocino Book Co., Dig Music and at the door.
ANNIKA MULLINGS is 17 and since October has been in a coma brought on by a brain aneurysm. She's going to need a wheelchair, and friend Liesel Magnuson of Santa Rosa is determined to get her one.
Magnuson and others who love Annika are asking people to dine out Monday at Mary's Pizza Shack on Santa Rosa's Marlow Road or Tuesday, the 25th, at Chevy's in Railroad Square. The restaurants will donate a portion of the tabs to the wheelchair fund.
If you go you'll need to take a flier. To get one, shoot an email to Liesel, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For another way to help Annika, Google her full name and "youcaring."
LIFE'S VERY TOUGH for Vicki Siefer since she nearly died in a December 2012 head-on crash on Stony Point Road that was caused by a young man under the influence.