Brooke and Keith Desserich have written a book about their daughter, Elena. At the age of six, Elena was diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer, and the family was told that she had only 135 days left to live.
While they struggled to find a way to cope with the news, and to help their other daughter, Gracie, learn about her big sister, Elena did some teaching of her own, for her family's sake.
During her final days, the girl began writing letters to her family and hid them all over their home.The cancer soon took away her voice, but did not deny the perceptive young soul the ability to still express her gratitude for the great treasure that filled her life: a loving family.
“She would tuck them into bookcases, tuck them into dishes, china you don't touch every year and you'd lift it up and there'd be a note in it,” Keith Desserich, Elena’s father, said.
Notes Left Behind went on sale yesterday, serving as an inspiring example of the renewal of love that springs from Gratitude, and the great things that can come from the humble act of giving thanks for all the good, big and small, that may come our way.
"We started to collect them and they would all say 'I love you Mom, Dad and Grace.' We kept finding them, and still to this day, we keep finding them," Keith Desserich said. "Literally, there are hundreds of notes that we found."
Elena’s parents each hold onto a sealed note they've never opened.
"We always want to know that there’s one more note that we haven't read yet," Keith Desserich said.
The Desserich family initially didn’t want the story published, but in the end, they decided they would if all the money went to their cancer foundation, The Cure Starts Now, dedicated to finding "home run" cures for all cancers.