Buddy Check: Walking 4 Lori

Published 03/28 2013 10:37AM

Updated 03/28 2013 10:46AM

Mahanoy City, Schuylkill County - Brian Russell is moving forward. Just two months after his vivacious 32-year-old wife died of breast cancer, he is planning perhaps the trip of his life-- a walk across America.

There's no slowing Brian down. He is walking in Lori's memory- and to raise money for cancer research.

"This is just me carrying on her fight. She's not here to fight the disease anymore itself," said Brian.

Brian's trek will take him from Times Square in New York City, across the Midwest all the way to California. That's nearly three thousand miles over a span of five months.

He will start his walk next month with plans to end on what would be his 14th wedding anniversary with Lori, September 1st.

"When I'm at that end that's who I'm going to be thinking about; every day every minute every second while I'm walking she's my driving force and these kids."

The Mahanoy City couple and their three young children have been big supporters of the borough's relay for life.

"She [Lori] wanted to make this year, raise the most money... up to the day she passed away she was making plans for this year's relay," said Brian.

Now, one of Brian's biggest cheerleaders is the woman who runs the event.

Tracy Dudash the event coordinator for the Mahanoy City Relay for Life recalls meeting the Russell family. "It was fun last year with your wife and kids here. I got to meet you guys and sit and talk."

She recalls how she felt when Brian proposed this major walk.

"He had it all planned out. He knew what he was doing the logistics and all. It was just amazing it just blew me away. I was taken aback just even having him there, with what his family was dealing with," said Dudash.

To help promote the cause and to raise money for cancer research, Brian is selling these bracelets with the name of his effort, "Walking for Lori" written on them.

"I'm hoping she's looking down with me now and proud of what I'm doing here today," he said,

Lori was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer at age 27- with no family history it was a blow to the Russells. But despite the devastating news, she pushed on.

"I would say they just gave you a bad report. She'd be like "I've lived life, I have kids, I'm married, I know what love is like. I own my home. I've never wanted for nothing. It's not me I'm worried about its everybody that hasn't gotten to enjoy those parts of life," said Brian.

For those people, Brian knew he had to continue Lori's fight to find a cure.

"I've done my fair share of crying over this the crying is done now. It's time to kick cancer's butt."

So he's encouraging anyone to lace up their sneakers and step out with him.

"If they want to come out and walk with me, it doesn't matter how far they walk with me. It could be a couple of feet to a couple miles. Tell their story, I'll tell them mine. That's how you get through this."

Brian is looking for donations along his journey. A small percentage of the money will go towards purchases, like food and water for his journey; the rest will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

To learn more visit "Walking for Lori Russell" on Facebook.

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