Notes Left Behind

( 32 )

Overview

Wise beyond her years, six-year-old Elena Desserich never stopped teaching those around her to appreciate the miracle of everyday living, even as she battled a rare form of brain cancer.

Notes Left Behind tells a story of humility and inspiration. Through personal and candid journal entries they wrote as a remembrance for Elena's younger sister, Brooke and Keith Desserich share their emotional journey as a family, along with the private notes Elena hid around the house for them ...

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Notes Left Behind

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Overview

Wise beyond her years, six-year-old Elena Desserich never stopped teaching those around her to appreciate the miracle of everyday living, even as she battled a rare form of brain cancer.

Notes Left Behind tells a story of humility and inspiration. Through personal and candid journal entries they wrote as a remembrance for Elena's younger sister, Brooke and Keith Desserich share their emotional journey as a family, along with the private notes Elena hid around the house for them to discover after she was gone. Heartbreaking, moving, and inspiring, Elena's notes show us how, even during the darkest moments of life, it is possible to find hope and encouragement though selfless love.

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  • Notes Left Behind
    Notes Left Behind  

Editorial Reviews

James Patterson
“This is 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.”
James Patterson
"This is 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."
Jeffrey Zaslow
"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."
Publishers Weekly
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 [her] days.” This heartbreakingly forthright journal helped the authors push back that “second-worst day”—when the memory of their daughter would be forgotten. (Nov.)
James Patterson
“This is 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.”
Jeffrey Zaslow
“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.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061886409
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/26/2010
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 488,172
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Brooke and Keith Desserich live in Cincinnati with their daughter, Gracie. They have several businesses, but their main professions are as a mother and a father. With the help of family and many friends, they founded The Cure Starts Now, a revolutionary cancer foundation dedicated to a "home run" cure strategy for all cancers, starting first with one of the most deadly and difficult cancers: pediatric brain cancer.

Brooke and Keith Desserich live in Cincinnati with their daughter, Gracie. They have several businesses, but their main professions are as a mother and a father. With the help of family and many friends, they founded The Cure Starts Now, a revolutionary cancer foundation dedicated to a "home run" cure strategy for all cancers, starting first with one of the most deadly and difficult cancers: pediatric brain cancer.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2010

    The Tragic Tale of a Real life Hero

    Elena Desserich is a six year old who will forever change the life of those who take the time to read her story. Notes Left Behind, is a journal that her parents, Keith and Brooke, wrote during their battle with cancer. Now many may think that one of them had the cancer and they were writing down their struggles, and triumphs with a terrible disease, but in reality neither Keith nor Brooke are diagnosed with cancer, but Elena was. In Notes Left Behind the reader experiences every emotion imaginable, when Elena improves it is hard not to smile and believe that she can beat the odds and defeat this disease, however when nothing is going right with Elena, the reader often finds themselves empathizing with the family.
    This journal was not originally written to be viewed by the public, but rather it was written with the soul purpose that three year old Gracie, Elena's sister, would never forget Elena and the lessons that she taught those around her. Elena longed to be a teacher, when she grew up of course, but unlike many children Elena was forced to grow up sooner than anyone would have ever dreamed. However though her life many not have lasted as long as many hoped for, her dream of becoming a teacher was not lost. Elena taught those around her the importance of love and laughter. She taught them to cherish the moment and never give up. In her short life Elena learned more about living then most people do in years of life.
    Notes Left Behind, is a phenomenal story, and while I say that I do not recommend it to the faint of heart. Elena's story pulls on every heartstring that you have and brings forth pain never experienced before. I would recommend that parents across the world read Notes Left Behind, it will teach them the importance of their children, and cherishing every moment they have together. I would also recommend this book to people who have enjoyed, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, and My Sisters Keeper, all stories with similar lessons, and play on emotions.
    Many people want to know on a scale of one to ten how you rate a book. This book however is not a novel that can be ranked on a scale. This story is a look inside the life of a family in a time of trial and suffering. The unique style of this novel is one of the many things that I like about it. This, along with the important messages is one of the main reasons I was able to endure the pain and finish this book. There is not anything that I don't like about that book other then the ending, but if the book ended any differently there would be no purpose, Elena would be alive to tell her tale herself. Notes Left Behind, will forever change those who read it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The reason to live

    At only five years old Elena has gone more than anyone could imagine. Elena was five years old when she was diagnosed with cancer in her brain. Her parents Brooke and Keith were truly devastated when they got the news. They tried to make her last day the best they could be and did everything that Elena wanted to do. Notes left behind is a journal that her parents stared when they got the new that Elena had cancer, they also stared this journal for Gracie her sister. As a family they grew closer together fighting the battle as one. Love is a theme in this book because it shows that the Desserich's had to fight as a family and count on each other and love on each other every day. A message that you would get out of Notes left behind is that at just a five years old you can have an impact on someone's life, also that age is just a number it has nothing to do with the things you have been through. Throughout the book the family because very close and wanted to spend every second of every day with each other and I really liked that because it showed me how much they cared about Elena. Throughout the journal the parents would switch who wrote and something that I did not like was that the Dad mostly wrote and the mom did maybe 10 times in the book and I think it could of helped us know what the mom felt also. I recommend this book to everyone because it was such an amazing book and it touched your heart and showed you that you need to cherish all the time you have with people who are truly imporant in your life. I think people should read this book because it shows you that one person can change your life and they can be your Hero even when they are younger than you. Another book that I would recommend is My sister's keeper by Jodi Picoult because the books are kind of the same how one person can change your life and also because they both are very touching and have an impact on you after you read them. The overall rating of this book is 4 stars because it was a wonderful book and had some great life lesson in it, and also because it shows you how to cherish the small things in life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Very good book, it was hard to put down. I was hoping for a mira

    Very good book, it was hard to put down. I was hoping for a miracle but knew deep down it wasn't gonna happen. The parents did a wonderful job telling Elena's story.

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  • Posted January 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This book will definitely pull on the readers heart strings.

    I decided to read this book because I am interested in pediatric nursing, I had no idea that I would get so much more out of it. This extraordinary and heartbreaking story of Elena and her amazingly supportive and strong family is a must read for everyone. This book not only tells the story of Elena but also describes the stories of so many just like her. It breaks my heart that people like Elena are lost during our search for a cure for cancer. But through their extraordinary stories, the love of their families, and those who fight for them, children like Elena will never be forgotten. This is definitely a story I will never forget, and it inspires me to show the ones I love that I love them everyday, and to do my part to help in our search for a cure for cancer. Get ready to laugh, and cry as you enter into this families story of their ups and downs, and get ready to fall in love with their two daughters Elena and Gracie.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2011

    makes you think

    makes you think about the time and the moments that matter

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    Touches the soul and the heart!

    Found this book very hard to put down. Although you know what the end of the book brings, just as the parents did, you keep hoping for a miracle, for the cure, the miracle to happen in time and the ending will be changed. Reading, you want to fight for this dear, young, loving victim,you ache but are amazed by her love and will to fight.Your reminded that the body can be beaten and broken but the soul and spirirt survive. Being a nurse myself, I too, have wittnessed these brave soldiers fight with all they have only to be taken from this world physically but never from our hearts or minds.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good

    I thought the premise of the book was very good and the book itself was a 3 star for me. Lots of other people may enjoy it better than I did.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    everyone in my family is passing it aound to read.

    Anyone who is battling cancer or any other illness and feel like they have lost hope or just want to give up should read this. I read some of this out loud to my three year old daughter, who seen pictures of Elana and her sister in the book and wanted me to read to her. She sat and listened to me read for about an hour and a few days later she came up to me and asked how's Elana I couldn't believe she had remembered. I think anyone who loves anyone should read this.

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  • Posted November 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Pictures were neat...

    Ok quick read book. Story of Elena's death told mostly through journal entries by her father. I enjoyed reading though his point of view. Pictures of her drawings (left behind) and progress through the medical treatments helped keep me engaged, otherwise I would have put the book down on page 100. Just another story that reminds us how short life is, to treasure each moment and take time for our kids and all other "feel good" live-bys. Overall, I would not recommend this book. Plus I can't kick the pain I feel for Gracie, and what she is going to feel when she reads this book. The way she was portrayed, and words that were written about her by her parents. Who knows?
    xoxo_leigh

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Elena...a little girl who could have been any one of our daughters...she blessed the lives of the Desserich family...and they have shared her with not only sister, Gracie -- but with us...

    Written from the heart...with love, compassion, and as parents who loved their daughters...If any of us were faced with the decisions and choices this family faced together...we would need strength beyond ourselves...The Desserichs' are sharing Elena, not only with Gracie, but with all of us...Elena's notes are a treasure any parent would love...but Elena left them behind...Elena's life and death are providing a way for her Mom and Dad to reach out and help other children and their families who are facing the devastation of brain stem cancer...and in their humility, compassion for others, and selflessness, Brooke and Keith are teaching all of us to love our children more...but not only that...the proceeds of this book, may find a cure for many more cancers (than DIPG). Thank you so much for sharing Elena with the world...your book helps us to know you all better and to appreciate what you are doing for others...May God Bless you, dear ones..

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    Posted October 30, 2009

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    Posted October 29, 2009

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    Posted November 26, 2009

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