Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Notes Left Behind

Elena is nothing short of amazing. She was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glimoa (DIPG), one of the cruelest forms of pediatric brain cancer. She was told she would have 135 days to live. She fought past that number with another 121 days.  

She was an inspiration. After her death, her parents, grandparents, and even her aunt found messages hidden in random and obscure places. Not just one or two notes, 20 to 30 plus more. She left quite a legacy by sharing her optimistic nature of giving and helping others with her family and ultimately the world.

This is Elena. 

During the later stages of her cancer when speaking became to much, Elena would put her kindergarten passions of art and writing to work to communicate. She even completed a life goal when her painting called "I Love You" was hung next to her favorite artist Pablo Picasso at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Her parents started a website to keep family informed with updates, but soon many strangers were reading and finding hope through their story. The feedback from their story and their daughter's notes they found left behind they decided to write a book, "Notes Left Behind."

This wasn't a story written for personal gain, but from a heart of giving, following in the footsteps of their little girl. Also, they wanted Elena's little sister, Grace, to remember her sister and her love for every one around her. This letter to Grace became the family's calling to share their message of hope.

The family encourages parents to spend every opportunity you can in big and small ways with your children and family. On a larger scale, the family founded "The Cure Starts Now Foundation" to help find a cure for pediatric brain cancer.

I read about this story today. It is a bit dated. Elena passed in 2007 and "Notes Left Behind" was publish in 2008. However, this is a story worth repeating. And even several years later, it has touched my heart.

Many people ask, why do bad things happen? Christians will often ask why God would plague a little child with cancer. I don't want my kids to be sick any more than the next person. I didn't want to lose the baby that I miscarried either. But sometimes, God has bigger plans for us.

Elena was a very special girl. God knew that. He was able to use her to do a great thing on earth for the short time she was here. God can use anyone, young or old, poor or rich, it doesn't matter. She was able to spread joy and hope even when she was battling with her own struggles. She knew how to pass on her love and memory and leave a legacy worth more than any possessions.

This story really touched me and I wanted to share it.

‎"And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." - Revelations 21:4


  1. Thank you for your posting and for allowing Elena's inspiration to reach to others. Although not certainly what we planned, we are humbled when others take to heart what we tried to only tell to Gracie. Through your postings we can tell that you too share this strong love we have for our children. Thank you.

  2. It means a lot that you read my dedication and left your kind words. Your daughter is an inspiration. I read her story and cried, tears of sadness, but also tears of joy. There was so much life packed into her 5-6 years. God really does have a plan for each of us. Thank you for sharing your story.