“Every day is Special so Make the Most of It.” These positive words were the beginning of a secret 3,000 word message written by a heroic 13-year-old girl, Athena Orchard, during her fight against bone cancer.. For months Athena had bravely battled bone cancer. She suffered for months as she lost much of her hair and her strength slowly ebbed away. Despite everything, Athena did not despair because of her condition. Instead she focused on writing a secret message on the back of her bedroom mirror. Her message was to her family and to the world. After her death her family discovered her message written with a blue marker on the back of Athena’s bedroom mirror. The message was found along with a box of original songs Athena had written.
The message consisted mostly of quotations that exhorted the reader to maintain a positive attitude and find happiness regardless the circumstances. “Happiness depends on ourselves,” she wrote and the secret to finding happiness was not wealth or pleasure rather, it was found by leading a “Life of purpose.” The grieving family found a measure of solace in the message Athena left them.
“Life is only bad if you make it bad,” Athena wrote in her message. She did not not give the cancer that was slowly killing her the power to make her feel her life was bad. She hoped that by facing her disease and the approach of death without despair, she was giving giving her life purpose and perhaps hope to others.
Athena died on May 28th, shortly after turning 13, but throughout the months of her ordeal she never mentioned her secret message to anyone. The message was discovered by her parents as they were going through her things. Even though it was difficult for her parents to read the message in the wake of their daughter’s tragic death, they were so impressed by it that they decided to share it with the world through the Internet. The Internet has carried her message far beyond the back of the bedroom mirror on which it was written. Athena’s note has ensured that her courageous spirit will remain very much alive.
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