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Uploaded:2021-08-03
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In which John celebrates Esther Day 2021.
Join us at tonight's Esther Day Gala for This Star Won't Go Out: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/esther-day-virtual-party-tickets-162964191283?fbclid=IwAR1b2G6vN9SWH6LXJaqVJcBz-MJvL7ThmbmpykemAjkYNZWCnGAplWKZ60c
Learn more about TSWGO: https://www.tswgo.org/
Esther's book, also called This Star Won't Go Out: https://bookshop.org/books/this-star-won-t-go-out-the-life-and-words-of-esther-grace-earl/9780525426363

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Good morning Hank, it’s Esther Day and I love you. 11 years ago when we asked our friend Esther Earl what holiday we should celebrate in her honor on her birthday, she imagined a holiday where people celebrated all the kinds of non-romantic love, love in friendships and families that too often goes unspoken.

Like what is it that makes it so hard for me to tell my brother that I love him when I love him so much? So much that I feel the ache of it behind my solar plexus.

It’s almost embarrassing Hank to talk about how deeply and dearly I love you, it’s like looking directly at the sun or confessing a secret. It feels vulnerable and maybe that’s what makes it hard to say I dislike feeling vulnerable even though it is essential to the human experience to loving and being loved. So yeah, I love you.

Esther knew that non romantic love didn’t get enough attention, and she certainly knew that I rarely if ever said “I love you” to. Hank, and so she gave us Esther Day and I’m so grateful for it. Esther died just a few weeks after the first Esther Day, in 2010.

She was 16. And after her death, her parents founded an extraordinary charity called “This Star Won’t Go Out” that provides direct financial support to families of kids with cancer. Childhood cancer treatment can be very expensive in the United States but there are also many indirect costs, especially when a parent has to leave work to care for their child.

This Star Won’t Go Out allows families to spend more time with their kids and hopefully worry a little bit less about the financial burdens of serious illness. And I am just amazed by what Wayne and Lori have accomplished in the last 10 years. Tonight at 8 PM eastern This Star Won’t Go Out’s annual gala will be virtual and there will be many special guests including the one and only.

Sarah Urist Green so I hope to see you there. The event is free although of course there will be opportunities to donate, link in the dooblydoo. Also if you’re new to nerdfighteria and want to learn more about Esther, I really recommend her book which is also called This Star Won’t Go Out.

In the weeks after Esther died, our community talked a lot about wanting to do things not just for Esther or in memory of. Esther but with Esther. We wanted to feel her presence in our ongoing work and carry her legacy with us.

For me anyway, there is no righting the wrong of Esther’s illness and death and no minimizing the grief of those who loved her, but I am very proud of the way nerdfighteria has responded to. Esther’s calling. I see that response in the thousands of people who celebrate Esther day, telling their friends and families they love them, and I see it in our community’s commitment to improving child health including pediatric cancer care in impoverished communities, and I see it in Nerdfighteria’s ongoing support for This Star Won’t Go Out.

In all these projects, for me Esther’s memory lights the way and I hope we can continue with them for many years. But more immediately, I hope that wherever you are in the world you will have a moment today to acknowledge the love you have in your life, especially the kinds of love that are hard to say out loud. We are only here for a little while, and I know sometimes for me it feels like I have to protect myself from cracking open, like I have to close myself off with cynicism and irony and that I don’t feel too much too directly.

But today, just for today, let’s gather our courage and be with Esther and say what we mean. Hank, I love you. I am so grateful to you for loving me, for growing with me, and for all the stuff we get to do together.

Thank you, I will see you on Friday. P. S.

I really hope to see you tonight at the Esther Day Gala, link in the dooblydoo. Also I feel like Esther would want a joke in this video and there isn’t one but something did just happen to me in between takes, so here it is. [sneezes] Sneezing is never normal, I never sneeze.