Six-year-old Elena Desserich from Wyoming was just like any other kid her age. She loved drawing and reading. She dreamed of becoming a mom one day. And she wanted to become a teacher when she grew up.
But then one day, everything changed.
Elena's doctor had tragic news for the little girl's parents, Keith and Brooke Desserich. Their daughter had a rare form of pediatric brain cancer. Surgery was impossible and the doctors said their daughter only had about 135 days left to live.
The two parents promised each other not to tell Elena that she might not survive the disease. They wanted her to enjoy her last days on earth.
Instead, Keith and Brooke tried to make every day special for Elena and her ittle sister, Gracie. They did everything Elena wanted to do.
But they were also worried that little Gracie might not remember her big sister when she grew up. So the Desserichs started writing a diary about six-year-old Elena.
At the same time, Elena's condition grew worse. She couldn't speak anymore and gradually grew weaker.
Then in August 2007, she left the world.
But what no one knew was that Elena had prepared for the end.
A few days after the little girl died, her family found some papers she had written to her loved ones.
Elena wanted them to know how happy she was with them.
Initially, Desserichs didn't think much about it, but soon, notes starting appearing in more out-of-the-way places.
They showed up in books, socks, closets, winter clothes, CD covers, and even bags of Christmas decorations. Elena had written everyone while she was fighting cancer.
On some of the papers, she wrote "I love you," and on others, she drew hearts and flowers.
"She was a child who was wise beyond her years. I hate to think she knew she was dying but I think she did," Elena's father, Keith, told the Daily Mail.
In the end, Elena's family and relatives found hundreds of messages, which together filled up three big boxes. They were wonderful reminders of the girl they loved so dearly.
"I think the notes were her way of telling us that everything would be OK. It feels like a hug from her every time we find one," Elena's mother, Brooke, told the Daily Mail.
Two years after Elena's death, Keith and Brooke decided to publish a book with all her notes as a tribute to their daughter and as a way for Gracie to remember her big sister.
All of the profit goes to cancer research. The book contains all of Elena's notes, except two. Her parents both carry one unopened note each wherever they go.
"It's our way of saving the last note," said Brooke told the Daily Mail.
Watch a video about the book here:
Elena has left this world, but she'll never be forgotten.
Let's all share her moving story as a reminder that we should all take care of our loved ones and show them kindness and warmth before it's too late.