On May 4, 2023, we received the devastating news that a dear member of our community was found dead on the UNR campus. Sky Russell (originally named Quincy) was the child of Sarah and Brandon Russell and sibling to Newt Russell. The Russell family has been an integral part of the Reno arts community. They have always jumped in to help build projects, run fundraisers, support social justice movements, and overall welcomed so many of us into their beautiful family. Sky was deeply loved by not only their biological family, but a wide family of friends who saw them grow up over the years.
Sky had just turned 21, and was about to graduate from UNR with a degree in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Conservation and a minor in GIS. They were especially passionate about limnology. Sky had a deep connection with the outdoors and was happiest when out in nature doing field work or just hiking or camping. They were extraordinarily smart and had such a strong grasp on science and math and pretty much anything they found interesting. Their sarcastic wit was wise beyond their years and they had the most wonderful and infectious laugh. Underneath all that intelligence, wit, creativity, and love for nature was a long battle with mental illness that Sky had struggled with for many years. They had gone through a lot of therapy, both inpatient and outpatient, and while they had their good days, they also were struggling with a lot of darkness inside. Things just got to be too much and their taking their life was their way of ending their suffering and pain.
With this devastating tragedy, the Russell family needs our help. There will be a lot of expenses around having a memorial, missing work, and therapy and grief counseling for the family as they go through the absolute heart wrenching process of losing their young adult child. We are reaching out to our community to help them out. With everything they’re going through, having to worry about money shouldn’t be added to their suffering.
This fundraiser is for the Russell family, the beneficiary is Sarah Russell, Sky's mother. The organizer (Michelle Wallace Leutzinger) is a close family friend of the Russells. Since Sarah is the beneficiary, the money will be transferred directly to her via GoFundMe.