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Notes Left Behind
by Brooke Desserich, Keith Desserich

Published: 2009-11-01
Hardcover : 250 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members

Elena Desserich dreamed of becoming a teacher. Although her time on this earth was far too short to fulfill her dream, she left behind an enlightening lesson plan on life. Wise beyond her years, Elena never stopped teaching those around her to appreciate the miracle of everyday living ...

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Introduction

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Elena Desserich dreamed of becoming a teacher. Although her time on this earth was far too short to fulfill her dream, she left behind an enlightening lesson plan on life. Wise beyond her years, Elena never stopped teaching those around her to appreciate the miracle of everyday living even as the innocent six-year-old battled a rare form of brain cancer.

Through personal and candid journal entries written as a remembrance for Elena's younger sister, Brooke and Keith Desserich share their emotional journey as they negotiated their contradictory impulses to fight Elena's cancer at all costs and realized the inevitable outcome. Page by page, this journal is a reminder to parents everywhere to appreciate and savor every precious moment they have with their own children.

Notes Left Behind tells a story of humility and inspiration. From the time of her diagnosis, Elena accomplished a truly spectacular series of wishes, big and small, that she alone created, from riding in a horse-drawn carriage to painting a masterpiece that would hang in an art museum. Her life motivated the creation of the foundation, The Cure Starts Now, which today helps children everywhere in their fight against cancer. The authors? proceeds from the sale of this book benefits this foundation.

Included in the pages of this book are Elena's private messages that she secretly hid around her home, knowing her family would find them when she was gone. These notes show us how even during the darker moments of life, it is possible to find hope and encouragement through selfless love.

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

From the author:

1.What is the significance of the title?
2.How does the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness change an individual?
3.How does it change those around him or her?
4.What does it take (mentally and/or physically) to fight a disease like cancer?
5.How did Brooke and Keith deal with the stress this situation created?
6.What do you think is the hardest aspect of going through this experience?
7.What role does hope play for parents in this battle?
8.How do you think Elena views the world after her diagnosis?
9.How did the relationship between Grace and Elena change?
10.Were you surprised by the change?
11.Why do you think children with serious illnesses grow up so quickly?
12.Should children be told everything about their condition?
13.How do you think Brooke and Keith handled the day-to-day issues of Elena’s illness?
14.What does Elena’s artwork represent to her and her family?
15.How do Brooke and Keith describe survival and the survivor mentality?
16.How do you think Elena knew she only had a little time left?
17.What kind of impact did Elena have on her community and those who followed her journey?
18.How do you think Grace dealt with Elena’s diagnosis and her death?
19.Are children more resilient and understanding than we give them credit for?
20.What legacy do you want to leave for your friends and family after you are gone?

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Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "A must read for every parent"by wcrispe (see profile) 11/16/09

This book is not what you think, it is not a said omg my kid has cancer book. This is a beautiful story of what a 6yo little girl taught her family about life, love and courage. A must read and a true... (read more)

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