Our board is the heart of Because of Ezra. They are an incredible group of talented people with a passion for seeing neuroblastoma and other solid-mass pediatric cancers cured.
Kyle and Robyn Matthews
As Ezra's parents, Kyle Matthews and his wife Robyn founded Because of Ezra to channel their passion for a cure for neuroblastoma. They have both made it a mission to do all they can to ensure no families and kids have to go through their crushing loss and neuroblastoma experience. Kyle's leadership as founder includes overall foundation direction, management, fundraising, and creative attention.
Kyle is a web entrepreneur, with nearly 2 million members and 40 million monthly page views on his successful community sites. He is president and co-founder of ModMy, LLC, an internet technology company with multiple daughter companies in it's fold, including newly launched ModMedical, LLC. which builds and maintains iOS applications for various medical companies.
Kyle and Robyn live in Tampa, FL (but Kyle always mentions they were born and raised in Seattle, WA and count it as home) with their sons Charles and Charley.
Ryan is the co-founder and CEO of Laicos, LLC, a creative mobile technology company with offices in Tampa, FL and Las Vegas, NV. Ryan is an experienced entrepreneur who sold his previous business, NegriElectronics.com, in December of 2013 after almost 8 years of growth under his vision and leadership.
As a personal friend of Ezra's dad, Kyle, Ryan followed Ezra's story from diagnosis, attending his funeral in 2010. NegriElectronics.com has delivered over 3000 Because of Ezra bracelets to clients over the past few years, and Ryan has shared Ezra's story every chance he gets. His extensive network and business experience are extremely useful in growing Because of Ezra's interests in curing neuroblastoma.
Ryan graduated from St Cloud State University in Minnesota with a degree in Business Economics and Marketing.
Marissa Devins is an agent in the Television Literary Department at United Talent Agency in California, where she represents a number of the entertainment industryʼs top emerging television creators, show-runners and writer/producers. She began her career in the UTA mailroom and has been with the company ever since. It was here that she discovered her passion for talent and more importantly, being a fierce advocate for those she believes in. Devins believes that there is certain purity to representation, always knowing who you are fighting for and never being compromised in that fight.
It is that particular character trait that she brings into every aspect of her life. Devins serves on the Board of Directors of Because of Ezra for these simple reasons: watching Ezra and his family suffer through this often misunderstood and under-researched cancer, was simply too much to bear. Understanding that neuroblastoma is the most common solid mass cancer in children and is currently the most devastating with survival rates in the 50% range, she seeks to be an advocate for these children who suffer from this disease and desperately need our help. She is passionate in being a key player in BoE to raise awareness for neuroblastoma and the devastation it brings to all those who touch it, as well as to provide critically needed funds to those who are aggressively searching for a cure.
Devins graduated from the University of Arizona in 1998 with a Bachelorʼs of Arts and Sciences degree in Political Science and an emphasis on English, Philosophy and Communication. She resides in Los Angeles with her family.
Derek is the CEO of the Foundation for Orthopaedic Research and Education (FORE) in Tampa, Florida. FORE has grown to be one of the largest independent orthopaedic research and education institutes in the country under his leadership. Derek has always been fascinated by science and how things work which is what led him to the field of research. While at FORE, he has co-authored 25 peer-reviewed publications, several book chapters and was awarded one of the top honors in orthopaedic research in 2011. He also designed and oversaw the build-out of a state-of-the-art surgical training facility at FORE where hundreds of surgeons have improved their surgical skills.
Derekʼs desire to serve on the board of directors for Because of Ezra comes from seeing the strength and determination that his close friends Kyle and Robyn demonstrated while caring for Ezra. After seeing the devastation caused by neuroblastoma, and also learning about the unacceptably high mortality rate, he wanted to join with his friends to do whatever he could to help with the cause. Although his expertise is in a different field, he hopes to utilize his experience in the research world to help guide the foundation when directing its resources to finding better evidenced-based diagnostic tools and treatments for neuroblastoma.
Derek graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Biomedical Science in 2002 and earned a Master of Business Administration in the Executive MBA program at USF in 2007.
Erica Copeland currently lives in Los Angeles and is a homemaker and stay at home mother. She began her life in Los Angeles working her way up the ladder in the entertainment industry, starting as a production assistant on the show "Home Improvement" and ending up in Post Production for the show "Everybody Loves Raymond". Somewhere in between she met and married the first love of her life, and then gave birth to the second love of her life, her son.
Erica is originally from Florida, and graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Political Science. She became involved with Because of Ezra through a mutual acquaintance of Kyle & Robyn Matthews. The moment Erica laid eyes on Ezra and the Matthews family, she knew her life would be changed for ever. Having a toddler son of her own made her astutely aware of how precious and amazing a child's life is; it is truly a gift. Erica is determined to help put an end to neuroblastoma, and believes Because of Ezra is the perfect tool to help stamp out this senseless, devastating disease.
The Auxiliary Board.
The auxiliary board GETS THINGS DONE. They are the movers and shakers of Because of Ezra - our hands and feet. These are also people who are close to us, and were to Ezra. They are an incredible group!
Abby works as a nanny, personal trainer, and concierge/hospitality representative for a production company. She wears many hats but loves every minute of it. Abby enjoys working with people and getting to know them. She is creative, organized, and likes finding new ways to utilize information to reach people in a relevant way.
Abby met the Matthews family not long after Ezra was diagnosed. Instantly, she fell in love with them and admired their fighting mentality against neuroblastoma cancer. She babysat for Ezra and Charley - and both boys remain close to her heart as she has joined in the battle with the Because of Ezra foundation. Abby helps plan and organize events to raise awareness; she also is an extra pair of hands to do whatever needs to be done. She is forever changed by the impact that Ezra and his family have had in her life and has a passion to see the end of neuroblastoma and other pediatric cancer.
Leah Copley grew up in Seattle WA and went to school with Robyn Matthews, where the two quickly became best friends. In 2010 Leah moved to LA for love. Leah and Justin are now engaged and getting married in August of 2013 - and looking forward to starting a family of their own! Leah is dedicated to her career in the dental field where she works as a dental assistant and is currently taking continued education courses to obtain certification to further her career in dentistry.
Leah knew she had a strong desire to fight neuroblastoma the moment she received the phone call from her friend Robyn - Ezra's mother - about Ezra's diagnosis. The feeling of empathy, helplessness and pain for her friends family was unforgettable. She is thrilled to be able to work toward a cure, and let everyone know of the need!