Russ was a Canadian living in the Kansas prairies…so January is the perfect time of year for a run!
He was curious, scientific, questioning, wicked smart, hard-working, problem-solving, positive, quick-witted, welcoming, playful, adventurous, burly, strong, and kind.
He was a husband, father, brother, son, friend, uncle, cousin, and co-worker. He was also a musician, physicist, IT guy, sound guy, hockey player, soccer player, highland games competitor, runner, carpenter, mechanic, brewer, community builder, motorcycle rider, hunter, snowboarder, mountaineer, hiker, biker, fixer, packer, helper, student and teacher.
He lived his life of 40 years and 5 days openly, genuinely, and wholeheartedly. He filled his years with many adventures, challenges, projects, and plans. Often times dragging many others along with him to join in the fun. The hardest challenge of his life was laid before him on July 18, 2015 when he found out he had cancer: Precursor T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a rare form of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Russ never fit any molds, and the cancer he had didn’t either. The challenge of living with and fighting against the lymphoma directed the last 18 months of this life. He faced this challenge as he did everything in life - head on, with all of his determination, all the while accepting the brutal realities that things may not go his way. He held a curiosity with and reverence for this disease, never asking “why me?” but accepting what came to him and embracing it with all he had.
There are many holes felt in the communities of which Russ was a part. Those holes are there because of all the love and inspiration Russ gave us by being a part of our lives. He had an infectious love and passion for life, and that is what is motivating his friends to hold this race in his memory. This race is to remember Russ who encouraged us all to push a little harder when we feel like giving up and to not settle for how the world is, but to make it better. If we want to see change, then change it, he’d tell us.
Russ’ impact on this world and those around him has been mighty and will be lasting. It is simply unfathomable to say goodbye to this one-of-a-kind individual. Perhaps instead, it is easier to focus on the good that Russ has passed along to all of us. There will never be another Russ Neufeld, but there can be a lot more of us striving to be like him. His parting wish was for us all to spread kindness and love. Let's do that.
For those on this journey--whether fighting, supporting, cheering, adjusting, mourning, or any other place on this route--this race is for you. Just like Russ did in life, this race is our opportunity to extend community and to shine a little light on the path. Thank you for joining us.