a helping hand – the loveRailbender initiative

Shared by Anita Ruivo + Dwayne Brown

Alex Néron and Marta Jarzabek photographed in 2014 in their studio.

One of the prevailing themes that Anita and I are always hearing mentioned, when we meet and photograph people for loveOttawa, is kindness. We’re also very proud that many people love the generous and independent nature of businesses in Ottawa. Small business is definitely at the heart of our city.

If you’ve met the newlyweds, Alex Néron and Marta Jarzabek, who own and run Railbender Studio, you would know that they are kind, humble and very community minded individuals. Like many small business owners they are faced with the usual challenges of paying rent, expenses and moving their business forward. Right now, however, Alex and Marta have been presented a very challenging curve ball, in the shape of Alex being diagnosed with colon cancer.


© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project – Alex and Marta photographed in 2014 in their studio.


Alex has started his sessions with chemotherapy this week, with Marta by his side, and they are doing this with great courage and a positive heart. They are also looking into some integrative naturopathic therapies offered by the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre. Along with the positive support of family and friends, they are doing absolutely everything in their power to face this overwhelming health challenge.

Last weekend I attended Alex and Marta’s small and beautiful wedding reception and I was touched by how loved they are by their family, friends and community. I was also reminded that a few days later they would need to face the challenge of fighting Alex’s cancer. When Anita and I talked about this, we knew that in addition to this, they would also be faced with the financial pinch of extra expenses. In light of this, we wanted to help raise some reserve funds and have created a simple way for others to lend a hand.

After looking into the logistics, we shared the idea with Alex and Marta. They were initially overwhelmed and appreciative yet reluctant, because they’re a proud young couple who take full responsibilities for their lives. After a few days of chemotherapy and all the emotions of the week, they called us late last night to humbly say yes to any help we could offer.

Something that life has taught Anita and I, is that a little love goes a long, long way. It is so important to pull together when things get tough. We have created a simple initiative called loveRailbender. It consists of an e-transfer that will allow funds to go directly into Alex and Marta’s hands. If you wish to help in any way, please do so using Internet banking by directing the to the following e-mail address:

All e-mails, e-transfers and best wishes will be forwarded to Alex and Marta. Thank you in advance for your support and generosity.

Dwayne Brown and Anita Ruivo
The loveOttawa project