The Book
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.

Jeffrey Zaslow, Co-Author, The Last Lecture

Notes Left Behind is the true story of a six-year-old girl named Elena and her battle against brain cancer. In her last days she showed a community how to love and how to live. Written through the eyes of her parents, Keith and Brooke Desserich, as a remembrance for Elena’s younger sister, her daily story tells one of humility and inspiration as she lives each day, one at a time. In her short time she painted a masterpiece that would hang in an art museum, she accomplished a truly spectacular series of wishes that she alone created, and she inspired a cause that remains today to help children everywhere in their fight against brain cancer.

In Notes Left Behind, Elena’s parents struggle to resolve their contradictory impulses to both fight Elena’s cancer at all costs, and to realize the inevitable outcome that awaits their daughter. Through it all, they rediscover what it means to be a family and what it means to live. The journal is candid and sincere in its treatment of deeply personal and tragic events and is a reminder to parents everywhere to appreciate and savor every precious moment they have with their own children.

BROOKE AND KEITH DESSERICH currently live in Cincinnati with their daughter Gracie. They have several businesses, yet their main profession is as a mother and a father. With the help of many friends and family, they founded The Cure Starts Now Foundation in honor of their daughter, Elena, and the many other children who are struggling to beat brain cancer. To learn more, visit

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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, Renowned Author
My heart goes out to them...but I have to admire the way they were able to teach Elena to see her life as joyful, and not as a tragedy. They really are inspiring parents.

Susan Wagner, AOL’s