Mark and Hela Russell
On Sunday June 12, Mark was gravely injured doing what he loved best, working with a young horse. Your prayers and offers of support are heard. The impact of his immediate loss to the horse world is profound, as is the hardship for his family that will be felt far into the future. We must all come together to show our support for a man who has changed the lives of so many of us forever.
Please give as generously as Mark has given to you. We do not want his family to have financial worries at a time when they should be focused on healing.
Please share this link everywhere possible https://www.gofundme.com/NaturalDressage
100% of these funds will go to Hela Russell
Thank you. Bless you.
I want to start with the most important thing: what it's needed for. I have alluded to the desire to keep Mark's work alive, a vision we all share. As Hela has said, "His wisdom should not die with him." She will do everything possible to see that does not happen. "Lessons in Lightness" is presently out of print. Mark was in the midst of an update, so this was intentional. We are aware of copies being sold online for exorbitant costs. Please, do not feel you need to buy those. Hela is exploring options to reprint the book.
Mark's current DVDs are still available for purchase. There is an archive of footage, some of it quite recent. Hela is hopeful it is sufficient for various future projects and would like to shepherd these to completion. You have been enormously generous in sharing your memories, your photos, your experiences. This abundance has potential for additional ventures. Time is needed to organize and address Mark's legacy in such a way that generations ahead can benefit from his unique perspective. Time and money.
Hela's main job has been to manage Mark's business, which provided 90% of the farm's income. With this revenue source gone, she will need time to redirect her efforts to the projects mentioned above and to establish an alternate livelihood. In the meantime, Mark has seven horses, many of which will be sold or re-homed. This should be done in a mindful manner, and not hurriedly. Anyone who has a horse knows the expense that goes into maintaining one. Anyone who keeps them at home realizes the effort that goes into caring for them. Mark had no life insurance. The medical bills not covered by insurance will be sizable. Three days in intensive care after emergency helicopter transport is enormously costly. Given all this, Hela is handling the events of the past two weeks with enormous grace and composure. But make no mistake, she is reeling from this loss. Now you know some of the what.
Why $100,000? Quite simply, I pulled the number out of the air after some back and forth between friends and students. We wanted to aim high, because we knew the need would be great. We were not wrong. There was some extrapolation of the number of students Mark had, factoring in the followers on his Facebook page, and it felt doable. Given the support in less than two weeks, it still does. While the outpouring of donations is now a trickle, I am optimistic that they will continue. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
So many of you have been exceedingly generous. Thank you. 246 donors have given over $24,000 toward the ultimate goal. As of today, Mark's Facebook page has garnered over 13,000 likes. Conceivably, these represent individuals who stand to benefit from Mark's work far into the future. Can you imagine of each of them made a modest donation? Together, we can make this happen. This page has been shared almost 1600 times. Please continue to post the link for this page everywhere possible. If you have questions, please let me know.
Sundays I attend my "church" which is a recovery meeting. Someone shared getting old was literally a pain, his body was hurting. I immediately became aware of how much tension I felt. I started to consciously notice where that was happening in my body and to try to soften myself. A few shares later someone else lamented his Father's Day visit to his aged Dad, who at 92 still liked to climb on roofs. "I keep telling him, your mind is telling you to do things your body can't handle." It was like a dam burst in me, and my eyes brimmed. What I immediately translated was, "Your body is telling you to do things your mind can't handle," and some pieces began to click into place for me. I was trying to hold back tears, but it was futile. It was as if I could hear the word whisper in my head, BREATHE.
I have experienced some traumatic losses in my life, the latest in April. Coincidentally, I have been in more physical discomfort than ever before. How I managed to dismiss the connection between my body pain and my unexpressed grief I couldn't tell you. Believe me, these are not foreign concepts to me. But you can't know a thing until you know it.
Here is what I know: this week has allowed this teaching to connect with me, where before I could not own it. I know why that is. You know why that is. How will Mark's work live on? It already is.
Thank you for staying with me. I will be sharing more about some plans underway to expand upon Mark's work, made possible because of your generosity here. I had come to think of this as the ministry of the horse. That doesn't quite fit for me now, because it goes so much deeper. Please keep sharing this link, your moments and your memories. They matter.
Hela has only had a few days to unpack her sorrow. She is well aware of the strong desire from many to know of her plans for a memorial service. When you lose someone suddenly, particularly a mate, it can impact your ability to be in the world in just about every way. The simplest things can seem insurmountable. You can therefore understand the realization that a public service is too emotionally taxing for her to undertake at this time. Instead, she will hold a small, private gathering on her farm in early July for her local friends and community. She hopes to have a public service in the Fall in New England area, and is counting on help to organize it. Please join me in respecting her choice to grieve privately with a chosen few at this time.
You're the reason Mark's work continues. Thank you is too small a word.
It will take time for our collective sadness to subside to a tolerable level. May you be comforted in the belief there is a greater plan, beyond today's comprehension, and it is born of this loss.
Hela, I pray that I have done justice to your heart this evening.
Anne Marie, losing this obviously wonderful man is devastating, but I have also been heartbroken thinking about the horse and the owner of the horse that Mark was riding. Thank you so much for relaying Helga's message regarding them. What a beautiful, beautiful sentiment and I hope it is a comfort to the horse's owner.
Thank you Anne Marie for keeping us updated and encouraged. You are doing a beautiful work for Hela and Mark.
Please let me know of memorial plans as they are developed.
Anne Marie your message is consoling. Thank you.
I would like to be informed of the memorial in New England, please.
Hela, you and your family are in our prayers. May you feel God's mighty love, peace and strength all around you.
May God bless you and strengthen you at this very sad time.
Please let us know about the TN date and we will be glad to organize it or help in any way you need us to
I would love to get details for the service in New England. Thank you.
I will appreciate knowing the dates of both services. Thank you.
I would like to be informed of the dates and locations of both memorials, please. Surely I can get to one or the other.