Esther Grace Earl was always a spunky, energetic, creative kid, full of caring for her brothers, and a close companion to her sisters. Known for her blue eyes, dimpled smile, and fly-away blond hair, she 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 amazed us over the years as we watched her learn to read at four, saw her successfully maneuver immersion French in 5th grade, and observed her natural empathy. She loved to read and was an avid Harry Potter fan. Later, she became an online presence where she developed numerous close friendships, uploaded quirky videos, and began a burgeoning involvement in social justice issues. In every way she lived out the values of her namesake, the famous Queen Esther, who was beautiful and full of grace like our "Star."
Esther (Persian for "Star") Grace was born on August 3, 1994 in Beverly, Massachusetts. She was the bridge between two older sisters, Abby and Evangeline, and two younger brothers, Graham and Abraham. 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, her family moved back to New England for her continued treatment at Boston Children's Hospital and the Jimmy Fund Clinic. Esther patiently endured radioiodine treatments, x-rays, CT scans and MRI’s, a bi-pap machine, extensive medications, occasional stays in the hospital, and eventually experimental chemotherapy. As Esther's need for supplemental oxygen increased, her mobility decreased. Yet she found new avenues for meaning, investing herself in growing online friendships, creating videos and a cyber presence as "crazycrayon" and "cookie4monster4." She thrilled in her mild escapades into virtual stardom, embracing her self-proclaimed nerdiness as she dispensed advice, all-night talkfests, and free hugs.
On August 25, 2010, much too soon, cancer silenced Esther and stilled her slender fingers. In 16 years she packed a lot of living and loving into her life, and loved well those who surrounded her. Esther didn't let her light stop shining—This Star Won’t Go Out continues to remind us of her love for others.
Rest in Awesome, Esther!