When six-year-old Elena Desserich from Ohio was told she was ill with a brain tumour, she decided to do something which gave her parents great comfort after her death.


The incredible little girl wrote notes to her parents and younger sister Grace and hid them all over the family home, inside books, drawers, cabinets and even Christmas ornaments.


Each note was inscribed with drawings and heartbreaking messages to her family, such as “I love you Mom, Dad and Grace” and “I’m sorry I’m sick.”


Elena passed away at home in August 2007 from a rare form of brain cancer and during the next two years her parents Brooke and Keith discovered hundreds of notes from the little girl all over their house.


Her family still find comfort in the notes and have framed many of them to hang in their house.



"Elena was wise beyond her years," Keith told The Mirror.


"She would go out of her way to offer help to younger children, even reaching out to adults when she felt they needed her comforting.


“Only after discovering many notes, and receiving a call from my mother, telling us she'd found a note in Elena’s dresser at her house, did we finally understand what Elena intended." He added: "We would find notes for nearly two years as we slowly opened boxes, drawers and Christmas ornaments."


Keith believes Elena hid the notes to help her parents deal with their loss.“We believe Elena was doing for us what we were doing for Grace," said Keith.


"At times, she would see me writing and I would explain that I was writing notes to Grace to tell her about the two of them.


"We believe that Elena was simply doing this for us."



Today both Brooke and Keith each carry a note from Elena everywhere they go. The family have since started their own charity called The Cure Starts Now.


Their foundation believes that cancer research should be focused on the types that cannot be treated conventionally.


“We believe, as the experts do, that in order to truly cure cancer you have to focus on those cancers that are immune to conventional treatments, those cancers for which there are no treatments, those cancers that affect children and those cancers that are the biggest bullies,” explained Keith. “We call this the ‘homerun cure’.”


After Elena’s passing, the family published some of her notes in a book called Notes Left Behind. They donated all the proceeds to The Cure Starts Now.


Three years ago, they had a third daughter called Nina. Keith says: “Elena now has two sisters.


"She is still very much a part of our family, with her picture and her drawings still hanging on our walls and through the stories that Elena invented for Grace that we now read to Nina.”