Alex Powell was a high school senior, a dedicated student, an enthusiastic athlete, and a natural leader. His life was profoundly changed in an instant when he received a diagnosis of a rare, aggressive form of cancer. When most of Alex’s senior year classmates were debating what their plans were after college, Alex had a tough year of surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments ahead of him.
Alex was still determined to fulfill his dream and attend Michigan State University. He wanted to fully participate in the Spartan experience. Alex and his family turned to the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities during this time of uncertainty and significant need. The RCPD helped Alex reap the maximum benefit that an MSU education has to offer. They helped place him in a dorm room close to his classes, assisted him with class accommodations, and gave him and his family support throughout their MSU experience.
As his physical needs increased, RCPD continued to make it possible for Alex to ponder the mysteries of science, appreciate the beauty of the written word, and to enjoy activities beyond the classroom. He attended classes, tailgated with his friends, and camped out in the Breslin Center during Midnight Madness.
Alex’s cancer diagnosis advanced and he moved back home during his freshman year. At the age of 19, Alex passed away on Mother’s Day.
Alex never lost his zest for life. He faced its end with courage, humor and a resilience that amazed and inspired all who had come to know him. He also shared the ultimate dream that lives inside each of us: to create a legacy and to inspire others. That legacy lives on through Alex’s Great State Race.
Adapted from previous RCPD Ability Blog posts:
The Powell Family
MSU RCPD and UofM SSD express our endless gratitude to the Powell family. Their generosity and passion make this event spectacular year after year, providing significant support to MSU and UofM students with disabilities. View past Ability Blog stories to learn more about the Gratitude Campaign and the history of the race.
Keep your eye on RCPD’s Ability Blog, U-M’s Services for Students with Disabilities page, as well as AGSR’s and RCPD’s social media accounts for stories coming this month:
Twitter: @Run4Alex, @MSU_RCPD
Instagram: @Run4Alex, @msurcpd