THURSDAY: Students Sponsor UC Talk by Authors of  'Notes Left Behind'

Cincinnatians Brooke and Keith Desserich, authors of the nationally acclaimed book, “Notes Left Behind,” will be featured in a talk and book-signing at

4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 25, in the Great Hall of Tangeman University Center (TUC) at the University of Cincinnati.

The event is free and open to the public.

The UC Bookstore also is making the book available for purchase at the event.

The book traces the brave story of the Desserichs’ six-year-old daughter, Elena, and her battle against pediatric brain cancer. A New York Times national bestseller, the book –told through the eyes of Elena’s parents – details her wishes and her cause that inspired The Cure Starts Now Foundation, created by the Desserichs to support education and research about pediatric brain cancer. The book also reveals the heartwarming notes that Elena tucked around her home for her family to discover after she lost her battle with brain cancer.

The UC event is sponsored by the UC Community Engagement Leadership House, a UC student housing community that builds leadership skills through service.

The event is co-sponsored by the UC Center for Community Engagement, the UC student chapters for Relay For Life and Colleges Against Cancer, The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and Graeter’s Inc., which will be providing free samples of “Elena’s Blueberry Pie Ice Cream,” a product that benefits The Cure Starts Now Foundation.

In lieu of a speaking fee, the UC student organizations are collecting donations to directly support The Cure Starts Now Foundation. Anyone wishing to contribute may send a donation of any amount to: University of Cincinnati, Center for Community Engagement, P.O. Box 210138, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0138.  Checks should be made payable to the University of Cincinnati, as one large donation will be made to The Cure Starts Now Foundation.

About the UC Community Engagement House

Located above UC’s Center for Community Engagement in the Tudor-style Stratford Heights complex on Clifton Avenue, the house is a 24-hour-a-day learning, living and social community dedicated to building student leadership through service. The Community Engagement Leadership House (CCE House) currently has 26 students – 14 are female and 12 are male. Twenty students are first-year students. The service-themed housing community first opened to UC students in 2007.

Jennifer Carter, a UC graduate assistant for the CCE and CCE House, says nearly half of the students in the living community are either Cincinnatus Scholars (in which 30 hours of service a year is a part of that scholarship commitment) or are in the University Honors Program for academically talented students. Their majors range from engineering to psychology, nursing and interior design.

Students who live in the CCE House have three primary commitments throughout the year. First, they must attend Visionary Leadership Day, a one-day event before fall quarter begins. Secondly, students participate monthly in CCE House events that are service, academic or social-related. Students also work together on a group house service project, which is identified by the students through the academic year.

The ‘Notes Left Behind’ house project was initially proposed by CCE House student resident Diana Nguyen of Finneytown. The second-year nursing student and Cincinnatus scholar says she was deeply affected by the book after reading it last summer. Nguyen has lived in the CCE House since she was a UC freshman. “Living with others who are community service-minded is inspirational and helps me stay focused on my commitment to service,” she says. “It’s a great way to connect with students who share these values.”

UC has approximately 30 themed student housing communities among its residence hall floors and the Stratford Heights Complex, ranging from service, STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math and medicine), college floors, ROTC, athletics, Greek organizations and students in the University Honors Program for academically talented students.

UC’s Center for Community Engagement

CCE House

UC Housing

Related Stories


Empowering diverse students, breaking down cultural barriers

February 26, 2024

A partnership between Cincinnati Children’s and regional institutions, including the UC College of Nursing, is supporting associate degree nursing students through their two-year program and a successive bachelor’s program to improve access and care for minority and medically underserved populations.

Debug Query for this