Remembering his spirit, vowing to not take tomorrow for granted, loved ones celebrate Brandon Russell’s life

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Dozens vowed not to take life for granted after the shocking loss of their friend. They described Brandon Russell as one who set the bar high in life.

Brandon Russell, Courtesy Taryn Klein-Russell

“If I had children, but especially if I had a son, I would point him to Brandon and say that’s the type of man you need to aspire to be,” one attendee at his celebration of life on Tuesday night said.

Russell died right after crossing the finish line at this weekend's “Rock the Parkway” half-marathon. The celebration of life was held at St. Pius X High School.

“He touched a lot of lives and people want to reach out and touch him tonight, and touch those who know him to thank God for him,” Father Mike Roach said.

Russell is a Class of 2000 graduate at St. Pius X. Those in attendance celebrated his life with food, a collage of pictures, a balloon release and lots of stories.

The sudden death of the 34-year-old man has hit his loved ones hard, even changing the ways some plan to live their own lives going forward.

His friend Derek says he`ll now live every day like the gift that it is.

‘”It’s a day by day thing, but just being around those people, sharing those stories trying to just get by. Every day is a gift no doubt, and he lived it like that, and I’ve got to do the same now,” he said.