Friday, November 6, 2009

Elena Desserich Is An Angel: She's Touching Thousand Hearts After Her Death

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Six-year-old Elena Desserich
Photo courtesy: The Toronto Star

One of Elena's drawings with a loving note to her parents and sister
Photo courtesy: The Daily Mail (London)

I first came to know of the powerful story of little Elena Desserich from a feature published in the The Toronto Star. I was moved by the amazing gifts that Elena had before her death from brain cancer in August, 2007. I like to share this story with you.

Keith and Brooke Desserich are originally from Wyoming, USA. Later they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. They had two little daughters -- Elena and Grace (also called Gracie). In 2006, at the age of five, Elena was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. Although the doctor gave her four-and-a-half months to live, she actually lived nine months.

The parents did not want to let Elena know of her serious condition and impending death. Mr. Desserich said: "We didn't want to focus on the cancer, we wanted to focus on being a family and doing all the things that Elena wanted to do."

Somehow Elena came to know of her coming death. Or, it may be that due to her health condition and extra attention and care that she received from all, she herself came to the realization that she would not survive long. There came a time when the cancer spread further and she was unable to talk. After this she furiously wrote small notes, now called love notes, with her beautiful childlike drawings and hid them all from her parents and sister. She sequestered these notes and drawings in nooks and corners, in between pages of books in the house, in bags, clothes, drawers and cupboards. Her parents estimate the number of notes and drawings surpassing 300!

She was beyond her age. She loved her parents, sister, grandparents, and the family dog very much. She wanted to give a surprise to them after her death. She knew that her notes and drawings would surface later one by one and tell them again and again that she loved them so much!

After her death, parents gradually began to find Elena's notes and drawings one by one. By this time, they published a book, Notes Left Behind, with Elena's notes, drawings and a journal that parents were keeping during Elena's last months. The parents also started a foundation in honour of Elena for funding cancer research. The proceeds from the sale of the book as well as other donations will be used by this foundation, named 'The Cure Starts Now Foundation'.

Two examples of her notes are: "I love you mom, dad." "I love you mom, dad, Grace."

What can we learn from the short life of little Elena? Quite a bit! We can learn that --

  • Every life is precious, however little it is. Everyone has a potential to contribute something in his or her own way.
  • A little one also can teach us a lesson or two.
  • Having a purpose (goal) + striving with determination = Success.
  • Love conquers all.
We wish that little Elena Desserich's legacy live long and let her moving example continue to inspire millions of people.

For more photos of Elena, you may visit The Daily Mail article.

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