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Elena Desserich was a vivacious five-year old, with beautiful blond hair, a dazzling smile and a spring in her step. She loved to draw, write and read and dreamed of being an artist and a teacher when she grew up.
However, 'growing up' was not in the cards for this special girl. In 2006, shortly after her fifth birthday, Elena was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric brain cancer and given only 135 days to live.
While devastated by the news, her parents Keith and Brooke, were determined to make each day special for their little girl and her then four-year old sister, Grace.
The long hospital days were spent creating beautiful pieces of art that comprised of magical fairies, hearts and smiling families. During this time, the five-year old created such beautiful masterpieces that one of them now hangs in the Cincinnati Museum, right next to a painting by Picasso! The few days at home were spent being together and doing special things as a family.
Unfortunately, despite months of the best available treatment, Elena's tumor kept growing. She soon lost her ability to speak, instead communicating with her family via notes. However, throughout this heart-wrenching process, the brave girl never lost her dazzling smile.
In order to keep track of every moment of her last days, so that Grace could remember her sister when she grew up, her father kept a journal of everything they did, right down to the food they ate every single day. In August of 2007, Elena passed away peacefully, whilst sleeping next to her mum and dad. However, this remarkable girl was not done with telling her parents and sister how much she loved them - Yet!
A few months after her death, her parents were sorting through some of her things when they came across the first love notes written for them. Thereafter, they kept finding notes in different places - inside books, CD cases and various other places around the house. Some simply stated 'I Love You', while others had pictures of hearts.
Apparently, while her parents were busy chronicling Elena's life, she was leaving her own legacy - And the notes were not just confined to their house, but also found at her grandparents and other relatives homes. Almost two years later, her parents have three boxes full of love notes from their amazing daughter and they keep finding more every day!
As a tribute to the bright loving girl and to help try find a cure for other kids suffering from a similar ailment, her parents have consolidated their memories and some of Elena's notes, into a beautiful book called 'Notes Left Behind' - All author proceeds from the sale of which, will be donated to 'The Cure Starts Now', a Cancer Foundation started by the Desserich family.
To read more about this remarkable girl's legacy and purchase the book go to www.notesleftbehind.com.
sources: gimundo.com,today.msnbc.com, dailymail.co.uk