Last week, a 12-year-old girl’s words lit up social media and inspired millions.
Athena Orchard was a UK pre-teen, who lost her battle with osteosarcoma, one the the most common types of bone cancer, at the end of May. After collapsing at home during Christmas, doctors found cancer in her spine, left shoulder and head. She had endured surgery and chemotherapy soon after, but tragically, the disease was just too powerful and she had only six months to live.
It’s always traumatic to hear stories about children dying so young, but in her years, Orchard managed to gain a lot of knowledge about life, love, and pure happiness. Days after she passed, her family realized that she had left them a 3,000-word note behind her mirror — a note which could really make anyone re-evaluate their priorities in life.
“Happiness depends upon ourselves,” the note read. “Maybe it’s not about the happy ending, maybe it’s about the story.”
Portions of the letter have gone viral, particularly on Twitter, since her family shared it with the public. Here are a few more excerpts that will make your heart swell:
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”
“Happiness is a direction not a destination.”
“Every day is special, so make the most of it. You could get a life-ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day.”
“Love is not about who you can see spending your future with, it’s about who you can’t see spending your life without.”
“Remember that life is full of ups and downs, without the downs the ups don’t mean anything.”
Keep in mind, she wasn’t even a teenager yet. She was just a smart, observant girl who seemed to make sure that her bad diagnosis didn’t destroy her sense of self, and her spirit. If she could remain optimistic while undergoing such harsh procedures, just think about how powerful and brave the rest of us could be while handling everyday stresses.
We can learn a lot from Athena, and so many already have. Her story, and her words alone, have had a tremendous. impact on millions who found her on the Internet. Much love to Athena’s family, friends, and loved ones during this really tough time, and remember that — in the words of Athena herself — “life is only bad if you make it bad.”
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