Dying girl's notes to parents, sister inspire book

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 28 2009 04:16 PM | Updated as of Oct 29 2009 12:16 AM

CHICAGO - With just days to live and too sick to speak, a six-year-old girl hid notes and drawings all over her house telling her parents and her sister again and again "I love you."

While Elena Desserich was writing the notes, her parents were keeping a diary so her younger sister Gracie would one day understand what happened after Elena was diagnosed with brain cancer.

They transformed that diary into a book entitled "Notes Left Behind," which was released in the United States this week.

All the proceeds go to a charity Elena's parents created in her memory to fight pediatric cancer called The Cure Starts Now.

Elena's parents found the first notes in a backpack. Others were hidden between books on the bookshelf, in the corner of our dresser drawers, between dishes in the china cabinet or between photos stacked away in boxes.

"We started to collect them and they would all say 'I love you Mom, Dad and Grace.' We kept finding them, and still to this day, we keep finding them," Keith Desserich told WLWT television in their hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.

"Literally, there are hundreds of notes that we found."

Desserich and his wife Brooke each hold onto a sealed note they've never opened.

"We always want to know that there's one more note that we haven't read yet," he said.