1. This is Esther Earl, the teen whose battle with thyroid cancer inspired John Green’s popular young adult novel and upcoming movie, The Fault In Our Stars.
The book, which sold more than 3 million print copies, was dedicated to the teen, who became known online for posting heart-wrenchingly honest video blogs about her battle with cancer.
3. In 2010, the Massachusetts teen passed away at the age of 16. In January, her parents published This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life & Words of Esther Grace Earl, a scrapbook of sorts that combines her drawings and handwritten notes with family stories.
5. One of the notes was a letter that Esther wrote to herself when she was 14, sent through futureme.org to arrive three years in the future, when she would have been 17.
Esther’s parents, Lori and Wayne Earl, unexpectedly received the letter in their inbox a year after she died, according to the Boston Globe.
7. “this is a letter for the future esther,” she wrote. “future me, i hope you’re doing better than present me.”
i hope that if you still have your cancer, at least it will be gone enough for you to be off oxygen. and if it’s not, just remember to use that Ocean Spray to keep your nostrils moist :] and i hope you’ve tried to talk to more people that also have cancer. in the world, there’s not ONLY boring people with cancer. there are people that are awesome, but maybe you just haven’t met them yet. you never will if you don’t try.
9. Strikingly honest and hopeful, Esther’s letter talks about her cancer and encourages her future self to change the world.
remember how you always wanted to do something for the world? remember that? if you haven’t done something amazing, don’t forget to try. the worst that can happen is you fail, and then you can just try again until you succeed. those words don’t work on me now, but just try to remember them.
11. She also imagines her siblings growing up, and reminds herself to tell her mom she loves her.
and then there’s mom and dad. oh, mom, how is she? is she teaching again? is she happy? she works so hard now, everyday she’s so exhausted. she does too much. i love her, and remember to tell her that everyday.
13. And of course, she wants to know about her love life.
what about, oh those silly things, boys? have you been kissed yet? amidst allllll the health problems and psychological problems, i still want to find a guy i like, who likes me back. i can’t help it, it’s just one of those stupid things i want. have you at least had a like who liked you back? geez…
15. Esther writes that she sent to the letter to her parents because she knows she might not be alive anymore, and wants to make sure someone reads it.
17. “just…just be happy,” she says at the end. “and if you can’t be happy, do things that make you happy. or do nothing with people that make you happy.”
19. Read the whole letter here, and read more about the non-profit Esther’s parents started in her memory, This Star Will Not Go Out.
[Update, 4/29: The letter seems to have been removed from the site.]