No parent expects their children to fall ill, but childhood cancer can affect an entire family by taking the life of a young loved one. Elena Desserich is a young girl who fought a hard battle against brain cancer but tragically lost her life at six years old. Her family thought they would never be able to cope, but what this young girl left behind for them to find is just what they needed to persevere through her loss.
Watching a loved one battle an aggressive disease is extremely hard. It is even more difficult when it is a young child, and as a parent, there is nothing you can do to prevent it.
Elena Desserich was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer at age five. Doctors gave her less than a year to live, and she fought hard until her last day. Her battles were extremely admirable.
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) is a type of brain cancer that attacks the tissue of the brain, which is vital for protecting the brain's neurons. DIPG tumors are found on the patient's brainstem. The brainstem being compromised means that an individual's heart can stop beating or they won't be able to breathe.
Her parents, Keith and Brooke, tried to give her the best life they could during her final days. While they were focusing on giving Elena everything she ever wanted, Elena was busy preparing one final gift to the ones she loved.
The 6-year-old girl had started writing letters to her parents and family members months before she passed away. Elena wrote hundreds of notes and hid them around the house for her family to find after she was gone.
The notes helped Elena's parents and her little sister Grace to cope with the tragedy. It was such a thoughtful act of courage that the family decided to share Elena's message with the world.
Her parents decided to make a book comprised of all her notes called "Notes Left Behind." Everyone can learn a lesson from Elena about being there for those you love even when you can't physically be present, and her courage will never be forgotten.