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Sunday, November 22, 2009

READ THIS: NOTES LEFT BEHIND By Brooke and Keith Desserich

Cancer is awful, terrible, devastating, we could go on and on.  However, like the Desserich family, we believe that research towards a cure is the best way to channel our energy.  Since Whom You Know began, we have covered various cancer-related causes including:

Ovarian Cancer Causes through the Legacy Group:

The Samuel Waxman Foundation

Voices Against Brain Cancer

American Cancer Society

Breast Cancer Awareness and Research

Cancer Research and Treatment Fund

NYU Cancer Institute

The list keeps growing because we think this is the most worthy cause around.  "Notes Left Behind" is an excellent read, but be sure to have a box of Kleenex close by.  It is the journal of Brooke and Keith Desserich, parents of Elena and Gracie, during the time Elena battled cancer.  It is especially devastating to see a child battle this disease, and Elena's maturity throughout her battle was quite impressive, and heartbreaking as well.  A thoughtful little girl, Elena hid many notes for her family that they found after her passing.

The book begins with Elena's upbeat enthusiasm for celebrating Christmas prior to beginning her first treatments and once they began, going to the stuffed animal factory to create a bear of her choosing.  What a great attitude, and we think we would want to do the same thing if faced with this situation.  We like how the Desserichs say that doctors with the best bedside manner get the best results-we believe that is true as well.  

We love how on Day 18 Elena wore ruby red slippers and it made all the difference in the world.  She would have liked our shoe of the week column:

Some poignant thoughts we liked:
"Now there's so much more to consider but less to worry about."
"It's funny how you never know how much you can handle until it gets worse."

This is our 69th book review, and we are confident this is one story that we will not forget.  The personalities of both Elena and Gracie, sisters, shine through and the honest writing by both parents draw the reader into the whole situation.  You will be cheering for Elena, crying for Elena, and wishing you knew Elena throughout this work.  You will wish you were going to her wedding in Disney World.  When you are rushing throughout the holiday season, please appreciate the fact that you are...take the time to enjoy the little things in life...and remember to take a lot of pictures!  Whom You Know highly recommends Notes Left Behind.


Elena Desserich was an exceptional little girl.  Diagnosed with brain cancer at five years old, Elena began to hide hundreds of little notes around the house—in places such as sock drawers, backpacks and tucked between books on their shelves—for her parents, Brooke and Keith, to find after she was gone. Comprised of the journal entries kept by Brooke and Keith during the last days of Elena’s life, as well as inspirational photos throughout, NOTES LEFT BEHIND [William Morrow; On Sale: 10/27/09; $19.99/Hardcover], by Brooke and Keith Desserich, imparts the priceless lesson they learned from Elena: every moment spent with your child is precious. The authors’ proceeds from the book will go to the Desserich’s non-profit, The Cure Starts Now Foundation, to benefit cancer research.

  • ENHANCED BOOKBrooke and Keith originally self-published their journal, selling over 7,000 copies, and stirring a ground swell of support throughout the world. This new edition offers over 80 photos and illustrations throughout, many exclusive to this book. Included here, in a new keepsake trim, are 22 never-before-seen notes, plus an additional 5 that were shown only on TV—along with never-before-seen journal entries and a new epilogue including touching memories by Keith.
  • A WONDERFUL CAUSE*: The authors’ profits from the sale of this book will go to The Cure Starts Now Foundation, a Federal 501(c)(3) non-profit charity organization with twelve chapters across the country, established in honor of Elena. With the help of many friends and family, Brooke & Keith Desserich dedicate their time to educating, aiding and funding the search for a cure for brainstem glioma and other forms of pediatric brain cancer. According to doctors on the medical advisory council of the organization, ‘finding a cure for Elena’s type of  cancer is the critical first step in winning the battle against all forms of cancer, both pediatric and adult.’
  • POWERFUL MESSAGE: NOTES LEFT BEHIND will inspire parents everywhere to put down their Blackberries, turn off the TV, leave the laundry to be done another day and become completely present, making more time in their lives to spend with their sons and daughters.
  • PAY IT FORWARD: The Desserichs are a shining example of the power of human resiliency. They experienced a great tragedy when they lost their young daughter, but they chose not to lose themselves in their grief. They chose to dedicate their lives to finding a cure.  And they chose to make a difference.
  • ELENA’S BLUEBERRY PIE: Inspired by her message, Graeter’s Ice Cream (a national chain headquartered in Cincinnati, and an “Oprah” and “Fox and Friends” ‘favorite’), decided to create a flavor called “Elena’s Blueberry Pie,” with the proceeds to benefit The Cure Starts Now Foundation. In the first week of its release it sold out four times, creating huge public demand. By the end of 2010, the ice cream will also be carried in all of Kroger’s stores nationwide.
Follow Us on Twitter! @NotesLeftBehind

Whom You Know also recommended "My Journey with Farrah"

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