“Elena has left behind a story of resilience, hope and most of all, love. We can’t help but take her into our hearts, and carry the best of her into our own lives.”
—Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor of The Last Lecture
Notes Left Behind by Brooke and Keith Desserich began as a journal they kept after their five-year-old daughter Elena was diagnosed with brain cancer and given just 165 days to live. As poignant and inspiring as Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture, it is the story of the courage of a truly remarkable little girl who accomplished so much in so little time—and of her parents’ love and dedication to their child and their family. New York Times bestselling author James Patterson was profoundly moved by Elena’s beautiful life and Notes Left Behind, calling it, “a stunning story that teaches us how precious children, family, and life are, and that the sacrifices we make are worth it. I won’t forget the Desserich family, and neither will you.”
A Cincinnati couple bravely and lovingly recorded the last months of their six-year-old daughter's life after she was handed the devastating prognosis of terminal brain cancer. A trip to the doctor's office to treat Elena's strep throat resulted in an MRI that revealed a large tumor lodged within the walls of Elena's brain stem "in the worst place with one of the worst tumors out there." The kindergartener, who also had a younger sister, Grace, was given three to six months to live. A miracle was what the family hoped for, traveling to Memphis for six weeks of an experimental treatment involving intensive radiation, chemotherapy and tests; already Elena's speech, mobility and ability to eat had been affected, symptoms of the tumor's progression that would recede and recur over the next several months. The parents kept this diary from November 29, the beginning of their daughter's treatment, until her death August 11, "Day 256," written in alternating POVs (mostly Keith's; Brooke's is rendered in italics), even recording some of Elena's own musings, such as that all she wanted was to be "normal." The parents remained resolute in her treatment, even upbeat despite the anger Keith felt at the "unfairness" of this disease. Instead of planning their daughter's future, the Desseriches sadly found themselves "counting days." This heartbreakingly forthright journal helped the authors push back that "second-worst day" when the memory of their daughter would be forgotten.
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Notes left behind
I loved this book it's inspiring and Elena is beautiful. It made made me cry when the Gracie said there was a pink cloud and thank her sissy. Also when the mom and dad said they Elena more then she ever knew. Elena is a beautiful angel with grace and passion and had a will to fight.she may not of won but she can still change others lives for the better.I live by live,laugh,love and always try to laugh instead of cry. I have copd and I stay positive I look up and research. I pray for her family and others with these kinds of problems. Children shouldn't die so young god bless. Love kory xoxo p.s good night Elena a sleeping angel
Notes left behind
What a great tribute to Alena!!!! Loved every part of the book! As a former counselor from a camp for children with cancer,(Camp Can Do, Pennsylvania....), We really can learn a thing or two from these children!! Would LOVE to make your Gala one year!!!! Maybe I will make that a Christmas wish!!!!
Whether you have children or not, whether you are young or old, I think everyone should read this story. It is so much more than just a young life that left this earth too soon. Praises and kudos to the family that experienced the story yet thought of others. I will never look at a beautiful pink sunset the same.