August 3, 1994 - August 25, 2010
Esther Grace Earl, the middle child of four siblings, Abby, Angie, Graham and Abraham and parents Wayne and Lori (Krake) Earl, was born on August 3, 1994 in Beverly, MA. In November, 2006 Esther was diagnosed with metastasized papillary thyroid cancer.
Esther Grace has always been a spunky, energetic, creative kid, full of caring for her brothers, and a close companion to her sisters. She has loved monkey bars and climbing ropes, rescuing abandoned Saudi cats, skiing the Alps, impromptu photo shoots with her sisters, designing web pages, teaching herself to play the piano and making her family laugh with joy. She has amazed us over the years as we've watched her learn to read at four, seen her successfully maneuver immersion French in 5th grade, and observed her devouring dozens of versions of Bible story books as a child. She has always loved to read and has lately become an online presence where she's developed several close friendships; some of whom she has actually met in person! In every way she continues to live out the values of her namesake, the biblical Queen Esther, who was beautiful and full of grace like our "Star."
In November, 2006 Esther was diagnosed with metastasized papillary thyroid cancer in Marseille, France, with extensive tumors already in her lungs. Following a thyroidectomy and seven months of treatment, our family returned in summer 2007 to New England for her continued treatment at Children's Hospital, Boston. We moved to Quincy, just 10 miles from the hospital, and Esther patiently endured a large dose of radio-iodine in November 2007. Esther's need for supplemental oxygen has continued to increase since then, with her ability to be active decreasing in equal measure. Another even larger radiation dose was administered October 2008, with some scary days where we didn't always know if Esther would pull through.
With her world limited now to her bed and its margins, Esther began an experimental chemotherapy drug in late fall, 2008. She was the first child at Children's Hospital to use this drug, which helped to slow the tumor burden in her lungs. Sadly, her tumors have continued to grow so in May, 2010 she began being treated with a second chemo drug. However, all are agreed that continuing to fight this cancer is crucial and hopeful.
She continued to amaze us with her fortitude, until recently putting together 300+ piece puzzles, and later sending and receiving the ever present text as well as facebooking with friends; she also continued to master all manner of computer games! She worried that she wasn't as "nice" as she used to be--but learned to speak up for herself amongst the "educated" medical world, when she was truly the expert on her needs, was an accomplishment in itself.
After a long and courageous battle, Esther passed away peacefully in her sleep on August 25th surrounded by her loving family. Our Star now belongs to the heavens.
Rest in Awesome.