Meet the real girl behind 'The Fault in Our Stars'

BySophia Noor WLS logo
Friday, May 30, 2014

If you're one of the millions of fans who devoured John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, you probably fell head over heels in love with its plucky heroine, Hazel Grace Lancaster. But did you know there's a real girl who inspired the character? Her name is Esther Grace Earl, and she died of cancer on August 25, 2010 at just 16 years old.

Her parents set up a foundation in her honor, called This Star Won't Go Out - her name means 'star' in Persian. Read on for a glimpse into Esther's life before she passed away all too soon.

Video of Esther two and a half weeks before she died, talking about her chemotherapy:

Esther wrote a letter to herself through, which was delivered to her parents' inbox a year after her death. Here is some of what she wrote:

"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."

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.

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.

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...

"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."

If that doesn't make you at least a little sniffly (not to mention inspired), you may just be a robot. Either way, check out The Fault in Our Stars to watch a great story based on Esther's life, which was cut short too soon.