Kelli Russo, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience, has died, according to a recent B-Line announcement.

A B-Line announcement Thursday morning stated Russo had died in her home near Albany, survived by both her parents and a brother. According to an Instagram post made by her sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, Russo had died as a result of Ewing’s sarcoma cancer.

“Kelli had a rare soul, one that made anyone she came in contact with feel warm, loved and accepted,” the Instagram post reads. “Kelli brought light, laughter and love into every room she stepped into. Her kindness, strength, humor, positivity and loyalty is something we will forever be grateful to have experienced.”

In May 2020, a GoFundMe campaign titled “Support for Kelli Russo and Family” was created, following Russo’s diagnosis of cancer in April of that year. The GoFundMe was updated with a statement from Russo on Nov. 8, 2021.

“I have been silent about what’s going on in my situation for a while but I feel as though it’s time to kind of shed some light on what does go on,” Russo had wrote in the update. “Cancer is not something that just goes away magically when you finish chemo, whether you are in remission or not. It stays with you, and I can speak for all of the cancer community when I say that.”

Eylul Duramaz, ‘21, a friend of Russo’s, said Russo had switched her major from psychology to integrative neuroscience after initially beating cancer, an example of her determination.

“Although she was hurting throughout her last few months, I hope everyone’s memory of Kelli is focused on her true self,” Durumaz wrote. “Her radiance. The intelligent, resilient, determined and absolutely hilarious young woman who would do anything for the people she loved.”

Delta Phi Epsilon had organized fundraisers in support of the Sarcoma Foundation of America, according to the GoFundMe, including through selling shirts and crewnecks. Russo wrote that she had also entered clinical trials in order to help in finding a cure for the disease, a rare form of cancer that occurs in bones and surrounding soft tissue.

Jackson Hengsterman, a junior majoring in English, described his experience meeting Russo years prior to entering BU.

“Kelli was the funniest, most easygoing person I knew,” Hengsterman wrote in an email. “I first met her when I was a nervous sixth grader, and she provided me with a friendship that I will never forget. She will be missed dearly, not just by me, but by all those who came in contact with her.”

Binghamton University’s Panhellenic Council had also expressed condolences on behalf of Greek Life in an Instagram post, directing campus community members to Russo’s fundraising page.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends and sisters whose lives were touched by this beautiful soul,” the post reads.

Durumaz wrote she would remember Russo for her humor and vibrant presence.

“When I think of her, I think of her loving face with a huge smile, her bright soul peeking through and lighting up my whole entire room,” Durumaz wrote. “She will never be forgotten, even if we tried. You can’t forget a face and soul like hers.”

In the Instagram post, Delta Phi Epsilon remembered Russo and her impact on those around her.

“Thank you for being you, our dear Kelli,” the post reads. “Your spirit will forever live on through the hearts you touched and the impact you have made on every person you met. We are honored to have called you our sister. To know you was to love you. May you rest in forever peace.”

This is a developing story, and will be updated as Pipe Dream receives more information.

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