Glenn Russell Memorial Funds

(pictured above is Glenn (right) with his brother Bryce (left) enjoying himself at my wedding in 2011).

It's hard to know where to begin this description, or explanation of why we have even created this page (in short, we are asking for donations to be made in lieu of flowers to help defray the costs of cremation and services). So, I will begin by sharing some background information leading up to my father's recent and somewhat abrupt passing. 

For those of you that do not know, Glenn was in a motorcycle accident approximately ten years ago that left him in pretty rough ship. The driver that hit him was killed, but thankfully Glenn survived because he was wearing his helmet. His injuries were numerous resulting in 4 broken vertebrae, three never fractures in his pelvis, and a fracture in one of his legs. Since that time he has suffered from pain on a regular basis, particularly in his back. 

In the fall of 2017 he began to notice an increase in his back pain along with some abdominal pain and digestive issues. Assuming the abdominal pain and digestive issues were related to nerve pain and diabetes and that the back pain was related to the accident not much was thought of the issue by the doctors he trusted with his care. When he began to experience weight loss without trying and an increase in pain and digestive issues we strongly suggested he push to be seen by a GI specialist. Finally in march he was scheduled for a colonoscopy which came out great. As the pain continued to increase the GI specialists ordered a CT scan. At the end of March he received the results and told us that it showed some lesions on the pancreas and nodules in the liver. An endoscopy with a biopsy of the pancreas was ordered and on Tuesday, April 10th I took him to that appointment where before he even went in for the procedure the GI specialist at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center all but confirmed that he had pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver and that he also had a blockage in the intestines due to his pancreas being enlarged. This information was a shock for both of us. I sat and cried with my father and told him we would wait for the confirmation from the biopsy and come up with a plan. While he was in the procedure Matthew and his wife Renee came up to the hospital. When he came out of the procedure we sat around him as the doctor (who was incredibly sensitive and informative) sat next to my father and told him that everything he saw was consistent with pancreatic cancer and that it had appeared to have spread to the liver and possibly the lungs. They also had to put in stents to open up the biliary ducts in the bowls. The following day Glenn stayed home, but returned to work that Thursday. Mid-morning that Thursday I brought him home from work as he was in a great deal of pain. Shortly after getting him settled in at home I left and just moments later he received the phone call from the doctor with the results of the biopsy. He had very advanced and aggressive pancreatic cancer. It had spread to the liver which was almost entirely "replaced" by tumor. I went back to the house to be with him for a bit and late Thursday night Matthew and Renee rushed him to the ER at DHMC to be treated for severe abdominal swelling and shortness of breath. It was around that time and even in the days before that we really began to notice Glenn was experiencing moments of confusion. We learned that because the liver was failing there was a back up of bilirubin and ammonia causing the confusion. The next morning (Friday, April 13th) I went to the hospital to be with him and he was loosely given a survival timeline of "months" as the doctors in the ER were reluctant to get into more detail without the oncologist. He was given a room in 1 West, the hematology/oncology unit where he would remain until Friday, April 20th. During his time in 1W we discovered his cancer had spread even further than we thought and the timeline at that point was 1-2 months. We dropped every thing in our own lives to be with him as much as possible in that time since the endoscopy and we were so glad we did because after spending days trying to find placement for him (with absolutely no real help from the case manager at the hospital, but a wealth of help from his doctor and one nurse in particular to get him to a safe and comfortable hospice center) he was given an new timeline on that Friday the 20th of 1-2 weeks. It was clear that day that he was not likely to make it through the week, but we had hope. We prepared to stay with him right up until the end and we did. We had some very special moments that weekend and on Sunday, April 22nd we said our final goodbyes to him. He was only 60. 

Matthew and I, along with our family have been so overwhelmed and are so exhausted. We are trying to tie up loose ends, trying to make sure financial situations are taken care of, and trying to plan for Glenn's cremation and service. We have created this page as a way to help defray the costs as we have a great deal of people asking if there is anything they can do. We were not really prepared for any of this given Glenn's age and that none of this was known until recently. Matthew and Glenn shared a split level home and now that household is down one income as we continue to work through all of the logistics of Glenn's passing. We are tired and sad and a little overwhelmed by the tasks ahead. We know we will find a way to get through all of this, but for those wishing to help out any amount would be appreciated. If we find we receive donations beyond what will cover the costs associated with his passing we will plan to add the remainder to donations we will be making in the future to the Jack Byrne Palliative Care and Hospice Center and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). We cannot even begin to say enough about the amazing care Glenn (and ourselves) received while he was at the JBC in his final days. The doctors and nurses were just so amazing at their jobs and were so comforting to all of us. The center itself is beautiful, but is always in need of donations of non-perishable food items or fresh baked goods for the families staying with or visiting patients, and also has volunteer opportunities. Contact the Jack Byrne Palliative Care and Hospice Center for more information on how you can help, http://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/jack-byrne-center.html . If you'd like to learn more about pancreatic cancer (and we strongly suggest you do) please visit https://www.pancan.org.  

In November Michelle will be participating in the PurpleStride Boston 2018 to raise money for pancreatic cancer research and support for those diagnosed as well as raise awareness. This particular cancer has the lowest survival rate and does not receive enough attention and there is so much to learn about this cancer so that advances can be made towards prevention and treatment. While our father is no longer in pain we would have given anything to have been able to have more time with him if it were possible to have safely done so while keeping him comfortable. Given how the disease had progressed there was no way he would have tolerated treatments. We want others who catch this terrible disease in time to be able to have a fighting chance and we want so badly for ways to avoid this to be discovered. No person should ever have to go through this and no family should ever have to watch a loved one suffer from this. To make a donation please follow this link: http://support.pancan.org/site/TR?fr_id=1522&pg=personal&px=2549960

Now that the story of Glenn's final weeks has been shared I would like to tell you a little bit about the best dad in the world. 

Glenn was born in Connecticut (he and I, Michelle, were actually born at the same hospital!). He was the youngest of six children and from what we understand, was a bit of a pill. Glenn has two children, Matthew and myself and he just loved us so much. He loved hard rolls from CT, racing, car shows, photography, and spending time in Franconia and Crawford Notch. He was an incredibly hard worker and a wonderful grandfather. Matthew and Glenn had a very special relationship. They shared a split level home that they cared for together, but they also worked together. First at the Granite Group, and then again at Smithfield Supply. I can't begin to describe the bond that they shared and my heart goes out to my brother because his loss is just so different than mine. Of course, my father and I had our own special relationship. We shared a few very special common interests, photography and spending time in the woods. I first learned about photography from my father using his Minolta-X370 that I still have. I know he was proud of both of us and we are so thankful for all of the time we did have with him. He will be missed dearly by us along with his sisters, brother, and siblings-in-law, nieces and nephews and their families,  our mother and her family (though they divorced many years ago they have always remained on good terms and friendly with each other which Matthew and I have always been grateful for), as well as countless friends, co-workers, customers, and acquaintances. And though I may not have ever admitted this, gosh darn-it, the man was almost always right (even though we sometimes denied that!). He would have done anything for Matthew and I, including helping my husband and I make sense of the heating system at our own house (he really knew his stuff when it came to anything related to plumbing and heating).  

We appreciate the time you have all taken to read this short novel (if you made it to this point you should really give yourself a pat on the back). 

We will be posting details on the service as soon as we finalize them both here and on social media. Please stay tuned for more information.

Donations

  • Lloyd Benjamin 
    • $50 
    • 26 mos
  • Ashley Hardy 
    • $50 
    • 26 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $300 
    • 27 mos
  • Rick and Sue Cayer 
    • $100 
    • 27 mos
  • Corey Simpson 
    • $75 
    • 27 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Michelle Heath 
Organizer
Ashland, NH
Renee Russell 
Beneficiary
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