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On February 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM, the Earl family will be celebrating the release of Esther's book with an awesome, multi-media event featuring presentations by family and friends, as well as performances by Wizard Rock bands. Come join the Earls and Esther's friends as they pay tribute to Esther's life and work!

(32:11) Hello everyone. Can everybody hear me? Not yet? Ah, there we go. Hello everybody, welcome. My name is Allyson, and I'm an events coordinator at Wellesley books, the bookstore that's sponsoring the event this evening. The first thing I'd like to ask everybody to do is make friends with the person next to you and scoot in please. We have a bunch of people that are coming a little bit late, so we want to make sure they're not climbing over you. Alright? Say hello, make friends...

[to tech assistance] Sure, come up, work on it. No prob.

(33:11) Alright. Have you met your fellow friends, fans, nerdfighters? Everybody friends now?

Audience: Yeah!

Allyson: Yeah? Alright, cool. So many of you may recognize me from the John Green event two years ago, how many of you were at that event? A few of you guys? Awesome. Thank you. I recognize a lot of you guys too, from your passion and enthusiasm and just your general awesomeness, so thank you guys so much for coming out this evening, both our new fans and our old fans.

If you're one of the many people attending who are from out of town or if you are tuning in from via the Vlogbrothers, "Hello internet friends!" We're live streaming you guys. Hi! Then you may not be familiar with Wellesley Books. We're a locally owned, independent bookstore about 15 minutes away from here in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

We are known for our kid section, our adult section, and our very well read and friendly book sellers, who are always happy to share their new favorite titles with you, and we're always happy to hear about your new favorite titles - we'd love to have all of you guys stop by and share your tastes with us and let us know what you want to see in a bookstore and your local bookstore, so please come on by. You can also visit us online at

We also will have books, our staff and volunteers are selling books here throughout the evening, so you can purchase them back by the door where you entered. And our books are also for sale online, on our website, 24/7.

We also, please feel free to tweet, Facebook, tumble, and generally social media up a storm. Instagram too, please. While you are here this evening, you can tweet us @WellesleyBooks, and you can also hashtag TSWGO to let people know that you are celebrating "This Star Won't Go Out" this evening, and if you could silence your phones, that would be really great, and any other noise making devices. We're going to be making a lot of noise onstage, but we'd rather not have noise come from the audience, unless you are cheering, applauding, et  And if you could also refrain from flash photography, otherwise we welcome photographs throughout the evening.

A couple more housekeeping notes, sorry this is running a little long here. When you entered, you should have received a colored ticket, okay? I hope you hung onto that ticket, because that ticket is for the signing line after the event. Once the Earls have settled in at the signing table - I'm going to whisk them away afterwards, settle them in back out in the lobby - then we'll come up here and call the first ticket group. It's going to be by color.

We're going through the entire rainbow this evening. So we're starting with red and ending with gray. So please be patient, wait your turn, and we're actually going to have a lot of the Catitude members - could our Catitude members please wave? Who are contributors - thank you - who are contributors to the book. They are going to hanging out in here actually, you guys, they'll be hanging out up front and they would love, love, love to sign your book for you, and to talk to you about the book, and be generally friendly and them awesome selves. So please - you can hang out with them until your color is called.

I have a ton of people to thank. I want to thank the Earl family, I want to thank the This Star Won't Go Out Foundation, the Wilson Middle School for this gorgeous auditorium, can we please just, please. Thank you. (audience claps)

Librarian Amy Bloom, I want to thank Penguin Teen, I want to thank director of publicity Elyse Marshall, Bryan, our tech guy, Dan our videographer, and the live-streaming team, our Catitude friends, Lauren Fairweather, and Matt Maggiacomo, there, I got it! (audience cheers)

Harry and the Potters, and the custodians, our staff, our volunteers, everybody who's helping tonight go smoothly. Above all, I want to thank each and every one of you. By being here, by tuning in, you're supporting This Star Won't Go Out Foundation, you're supporting the Earl family, as many of you have from the beginning. You're supporting our bookstore and the power of stories. And the part that chokes me up... You're keeping alive the powerful legacy of Esther Earl, thank you guys.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends, family, and nerdfighters, you are in for an extraordinary, and moving, and musical evening. It is my distinct honor to welcome to the stage our hosts for this evening and curators of This Star Won't Go Out, the beautiful book many of you are already holding in your hands. Please join me in welcoming Lori and Wayne Earl.

(audience cheers)

(38:15) Lori: Wow.

Wayne: All these people here to see me! (audience laughs)

Lori: Partly you... (audience laughs)

Wayne: Thank you for coming to celebrate the life of our beautiful daughter, or family, this story, it means so much to us. You could be hanging out at the cheesecake factory. You could be somewhere else, but you're here with us. We want to thank you - everybody here, it's a celebration of a life, and not a death. It's a celebration of a life lived well. 

Lori: So, we have a few people we would like to welcome individually. We welcome all of you, we welcome all of you that are on [the] internet. I'm not sure which way I look to see the Vlogbrothers.

Wayne: Right over there.

Lori: Over there? Okay. So we want to say thank you to John Green because John, if you are listening, we wouldn't be here.

Wayne: Has anybody hear of John Green? (audience laughs and cheers) John, we love you.

Lori: And we want to say thank you. And Esther thanks you too. So we have a few other people we want to thank individually, we want to say thank you to Penguin Books, well that's not individually, Penguin Books, and the representatives who are here and who have made this story come to life. Julie Strauss-Gabel, our publisher. Elyse Marshall, our publicist, who is organizing this event, along with Wellesley Books. And also Jodie Reamer, our agent. Thank you, Jodie.

Wayne: Absolutely. And we especially want to thank our family members who are here coming from long distances. Grandma and grandpa are here, my parents. (audience cheers) Lori's parents are watching from China, so- but then, aunt and uncle, and cousins, and most importantly, most importantly, my favorite children here in the house; Abigail Cherisse, Evangeline Danei, Mr. Graham Kenneth Earl, and Abraham Judson Earl, there he is yup, please wave. Do the wave. (audience cheers) And stand up, stand up quickly, just a wave, okay? Wave, alright. No autographs.

Lori: We also want to thank our medical - some of Esther's medical staff who are here I think I know that Jennifer Rhine, Esther's social worker, is here. Jennifer, wave. Also her doctors, I think are here, Jessica Smith? I don't... And also Annette Worker, and, if they're not here right now, they might be slipping in later. But they -they are two of Esther's amazing team-

Wayne: Absolutely.

Lori: -and we appreciate all that they did for her.

Wayne: Listen, it's okay. Just one other thing before we show you a video, a brief video that we put together - it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be happy, you know, love is that place. A life well lived is that place where sorrow, and sadness, and joy and gladness meet, and Esther lived that out. She lived that out perfectly. So it's okay to be sad.

About a year ago, our cat - the cat got sick and she had come to me at 13 years old and said, "I want a cat." She came home with two. "Dad, the brother was an orphan, we can't leave him alone." So Evangelina, and I, and Esther had two cats. Well, the white one got sick, and I was worried because I couldn't find him. Found him after a day in a corner. We took him to the vet, he was treated, and just a week or so after that, a neighbor came and said, "I think Blueberry is in the street and he's been hit by a car and he died." And it's just a cat, but that was Esther's cat, and it's enough trauma for one day, you know. It's okay to be sad, there's so much more, I think, gladness, is a bigger emotion. So lets celebrate Esther's night. Amen? Here's the video, Our Star.

[the video begins]
"Can you do peekaboo for mommy? Hello!"
"There she goes!" 
"She loves her sister! Yay!"
"How 'bout you? What are you gonna be when you grow up?" "I'm going to be... Just like you!"
"Woah" (laughing)

Happy Birthday to you!" "Oh, she's got a boyfriend!"
"Here to celebrate Esther. Oh, you're so  Okay, just stand back a little so we can see the whole thing."
"Can I get an autograph? Can I get an autograph?" "Sure, I'll sign your bald head!"
"Oh my gosh Dad, I didn't know you were filming, stop!"
"Price tag! Price tag on chin. Shaving cream! Shaving cream on chin. Rubik's cube with shaving cream on it! I knows I have a nose."
"Oh, dude! you sent me your hair!"
"Anyway, I still have cancer, and there's not really a cure for it, so I'm just living day to day. And that's that. And I'm 16, I'm 16! And I've lived another year! And I haven't... I am still fighting."
"Hello my lovely muffins. I just want to eat you up. No, I'm just kidding, if I eat you, you wouldn't exist."
"Feel kinda like I'm fooling people, because you know, in my videos and with John Green and all those amazing people have said about me. Like they say all these amazing things about me, but I feel like I'm fooling you all because I'm not always amazing, and I'm not always awesome, and I'm not always strong, and I'm not always brave, and you guys should know that, you know."
"And then we got home and I sat on my couch where I sit now. 
"Look at this! Looking at myself in the mirror, looking at myself in the camera in the mirror, looking at myself at you! Love you!"

[End of video (48:13)]

[Audience claps]

Lori: I was going to say, "The happy and the sad." We would like to introduce, at this point, two lovely readers from a selection from This Star Won't Go Out. This book, in case you don't know the book.

[Audience laughs]

Lori: And these two readers are our two beautiful daughters, Esther's older sisters. Abigail joined our family in 1989, we were living in Belgium. We called her (Wayne: We were teenagers) our Brussels sprout. We were living in Brussels. We weren't teenagers! And, um, she was just so cute! I mean she had these cheeks; I don't know where she got them from. And dimples.

Wayne: It was your side of the family with the cheeks.

Lori: And she was so cute. And then along came Evangeline three years later. And she was cute too.

[Audience laughs]

Lori: And (laughs) and um, they are such beautiful talented ladies. We are so proud of them. We are so proud to share them with you as they read us a selection from Esther's writings.

[Audience applauds]

Evangeline: How is everyone? Um, I'm Evangeline.

Abigail: I'm Abbey. We're the sisters.

Evangeline: And um, do you want to?

Abigail: Yeah, we are, um, we want to read this excerpt from the book. It's an email that Esther wrote to herself on April 20th in 2009, and we received it two years later, December 1st. Um, yeah.

Evangeline: And, um, yeah, it really was just the strangest thing to come home and, you know, to see an email from Esther over a year after she had passed away. It kinda was like she was communicating with us from the great beyond. And, um, but it really was such a beautiful thing to be reminded that even though she was no longer with us physically, that she wasn't really gone. So you guys are welcome to follow along with us while we read. It's on page 381 in the book. 

Abigail: If you want.

Evangeline: If you want.

Abigail: Alright. "This is a letter from future Esther that I will get when I'm 17. So you know that I'm really bad with words. I have emotions, but I'm pretty bad at getting them out on paper. But this email is for you. And you'll understand most of what I'm saying. I hope."

Evangeline: "Yeah, I'm 14 now. I'll be 15 in four months, future me. I hope you are 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. [Audience laughs] 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.

"Do you still even have cancer? Do you still feel sick? Are you back in school after missing so many years of it? In the present I'm a lazy person. I mean with the health issues there's the fact that I can't do much, but come one man, I hope you've gotten off your butt. You finally started doing physical therapy in the present, but you keep trying to get out of it. I hope in the future you are more strong willed and go through with things. 

"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 worse that can happen is that 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."

Abigail: "Graham is going good. He's 13 at present: a teenager. And when you get this, he'll be 15. Wow, that's older than I am at present. His speech problems have gotten better. And present me is a lot nicer to him now than past me. I'm glad of that. How is he in the future? Is he doing good? Give him a hug. Play some games with him. He loves you, and I hope you pay more attention to him.

"And Abraham? He's, what, 8 now? Man, that's old. Is he a sports maniac? Does he play basketball, baseball, soccer, swimming, or just hockey, all the things he wants to do now? Is he a brainiac? He's so smart right now he says pledge of allegiance perfectly and can draw and say every letter of the alphabet and he's learning to read. 

"Oh Evangeline/Angie? Are you friends with her again? When you were 12 and she was 15, you guys were best friends. We told each other everything, but ever since I got sick we haven't talked as much. I think maybe that might be because, I don't know, her problems seem unimportant compared to my health maybe. I don't know. I wish we could be best friends again. Kinda awkward to hand out with her now though. Is that gone? Please make an effort to become or stay friends with her. You need each other. Is she 20 now? Holy cow! Seriously? That is sooo old."

[Audience laughs]

Evangeline: I'm 22 now. 

"Abbey is 19 now. Oh, no, she turned 20 yesterday. Wow, 20 years old! I forgot to tell her happy birthday yesterday. I never expected the day to come, when my sister has a 2 at the beginning of her age. It's weird. Future me has a sister named Abbey who is 22, huh? She's the legal drinking age now. Haha. [Audience laughs] She's at Gordon now, and she want's to be a PA.

"She came with me when I got my G2 switched and held my hand as they freaking pulled the life out of me. I could be exaggerating a little. She kind of go woozy and fell out of her chair. But I think it was because it was me, someone she knows, in pain. I think she'll be an amazing doctor if she goes through with it. Cheer her on with whatever she's doing."

Abigail: I totally fainted. (Laughs)

[Audience laughs]

Abigail: "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.

"Are her and Dad still bickering? All they talk about is money, since, let's face it, we literally have none. The world is in recession and our family has always been on the poor end. But now we're living on $300 a month, really. 

"Dad just got a job as a mall security guard. It's only temporary, but he seems better now that he's not sitting at home job searching all day. I'm glad that he's doing something. Does he still have problems with depression? Don't get angry too much. He tries really hard and he loves you. If you had five kids and couldn't get a job, I'm sure you'd be a little depressed as well."

Evangeline: Oh are you still a nerdfighter?

[Audience laughs]

Evangeline: Because right now that the big part of your life, really pretty much all your life, I'm going to Leaky Con at May 21st to May 24th. And I think Abby or Angie are going with me

(gesturing to Abigail) We both went 

Evangeline: um, if you've ever gotten to the Harry Potter conventions and I'm going to get to see all the bands I love and hopefully meet some cool people. The only problem is I feel really guilty for doing this because it's so expensive. Two hundred and fifty dollars per person, but Mom and Dad know how much it means to me. It's just crazy how bad I feel for wanting to spend so much money. Yikes.

Still a fan of Harry Potter? The movies are over by now, aren't they? Or is the last one coming out November 2011? I don't remember. But remember that Harry Potter is how you made friends with a lot of people, and don't shove them off when you don't need them anymore. And what about Doctor Who? I'm just getting into that now. I feel like it'll be a big part of my life, even though it's just a TV show.

Abigail: How are your cats, Pancake and Blueberry? Are they doing well?

[Sisters chuckle]

Abigail: Did you get any more cats or pets? Blueberry and Pancake are laying with me in bed now and they're so warm. Every time one of them brushes against me or lays next to me, their warm thick contentment made me smile. Many things has happen to them. Since I know Blueberry is not the healthiest, don't worry about being sad or crying, and remember all the awesome times you have with them.

And..and hows Nivs? Do you still have him or did you give him away?
Remember to show him some love if you still have him. He's a puppy and he doesn't need the annoyance that's directed towards them. You know that. Are you volunteering at animal shelters if you can? If you're healthy enough, you should consider it.

What about oh those silly things boys?

[collective laughter]

Have you been kissed yet? Amidst all the health problems and physiological problems, I still want to find the 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 liked who liked you back?

[ Rolls her eyes playfully]


[Chuckles from audience]

Evangeline: Are you still friends with Alexa and Melissa? They're the only people you're still in contact with that have known you since you've been sick. They're good friends, and even though you probably still wouldn't be "friends" if you were healthy, they're awesome, and you need to remember to talk to them more. If you haven't talk them in ages, why not do it now? And don't be afraid to be yourself. You need friends and there are other people who need friends; the way to get friends is to reach out.

How is your mental state? Are you still as confused as ever? Are you talking to God again? Esther, God has been with you through everything you've gone through. He really loves you, and and you need him. In the present, you're ignoring him, and I hate that. How do you think you made it through that radiation when everyone thought you were going to die during the night? 

Do you even remember this stuff?

Abigail: (58:43) On Thursday, I'm going to get another CT scan, and a PET scan, and it will show how I'm reacting to the Chemo. I really hope that my lungs are improving. I'm nervous. I've been feeling a little worried--worse about--with my breathing lately, and I just hope and pray that I'll--it'll be alright. Hey, remember to thank your doctors! Dr. Smith and Anette, they're fantastic people, and they're your doctors. Don't be afraid to tell them your worries.

To be honest, I'm not even sure if future me will be alive, and for that reason, I'm sending this email to Mom and Dad, since, if I'm not alive, at least I know this email will be checked.

Man, what a way to end this letter. Okay, future me: try to be happy. Try to do things. Don't forget that many times, you never thought you'd make it through the night. Remember all the people that have helped you in the past. Tell your family how much you love them. Go to school. It may seem stupid, but doing homework and research can get your mind off the little bothersome things. Read. You're forgetting to read as much, and reading is a lovely thing. Try to solve a Rubik's cube again. You solved your first one yesterday! Just — just be happy. And if you can't be happy, do things that make you happy, or do nothing with people that make you happy.

Evangeline: (1:00:08) There was so much more I wanted to say, and maybe I'll send another one of these, if anything happens. I love you, and I hope you turn out good. 

Abigail: The end.

Evangeline: Well, thanks, guys. 


Lori: As if Esther could forget about Harry Potter, or what LeakyCon is, or if she's a Nerdfighter.

[Laughter from the audience.]

[Lori laughs] Not possible. And in fact, fangirling was not beyond Esther. In fact, in one of the shows--shows? On of the...

Wayne: vlogs. 

Lori:...channels she loved was "Five Awesome Girls."

Wayne: Five Awesome Girls?

Lori: Anybody know Five Awesome Girls? 

[Audience cheers.]

Alright. And all of their spin-offs since, right? Well, Esther found out that Lauren Fairweather lived not too far away from us and, um, actually for her sixteenth birthday, invited, uh, Lauren, who brought along Matt, because they were dating. 

Wayne: They were dating, yep. 

Lori: And — 

Wayne: Flavor of the month!

Lori: Along with Andrew Slack, who also came to her party with his friend, and we had a whole celebration at our house, for her birthday. Uh, sweet sixteen, we have some wonderful pictures. And, uh, in fact, Lauren and Esther made a video together that night for her channel.

Wayne: They did, yep.

Lori: And, uh, so she was pretty excited. She was excited because she was going to be getting tutored on the ukulele, too. But, um, so we really count Lauren and Matt as friends, and in fact, they are the only other people, except for our family to have been at every Esther day since Esther day was created and named by John and Hank Green, which started with her sixteenth birthday and then has continued since then. So.

Wayne: I just wanted to mention that Matt and Lauren went on Tour after Esther passed away, a tour for Esther. And along the way, they had a bucket, people would put money in it, they collected that money for us, and we ended up using that for her tombstone. And if you've read the book, you'll know that Esther went to the cemetery and picked out her tombstone and her spot and, um, chose the most expensive tombstone there was.

[Audience Laughter]

Lori: spoiler.

Wayne: (1:02:41) So they, so, one of the most expensive ones, and, um, then they went on tour, Esther, for her Make-A-Wish wanted to go--

Lori: that was a spoiler, by the way. 

Wayne: Oh, spoiler. Sorry, forget what I just said. 

[Audience laughs.]

Wayne: They went from Boston to Florida and on to Santa Monica, and Esther, for her original Make-A-Wish wanted to do that trip around the country and see her friends in person. She couldn't, for health reasons, so Matt and Lauren and, um...

Lori: Justin.

Wayne: Justin got to do that for her. This is my favorite Esther song. Matt and Lauren. Alright. 


Lauren: (1:13:33) Hey!

Matt: Hey. 

[chuckles from the audience] 

Lauren: How's it goin'?

Matt: Um, this is for Esther, um, it's also for Esther's family and it's also for Catitude.

[Cue the music.]

Lauren: Esther, you made me feel just like
I've known you for my whole life
When it's only been a day.

You changed my life without a doubt
And I know your star won't go out
There's just no way.

So, as I walk on
I look to the stars
And think of you
It feels like you're still here
And Esther your love
Will get us through.

Matt: From Boston down to Florida
Across to Colorado
And on to Santa Monica

your friends are gathering to sing
Take comfort in remembering
How much you mean to us. 

So, as I walk on
I look to the stars
And think of you
It feels like you're still here
And Esther your love
Will get us through.

Lauren: I know you'd be the first to say
You're only human,

But we love you for everything
You are, no matter what.

So, as I walk on
I look to the stars
And think of you
It feels like you're still here
And Esther your love
Will get us through.

Both: So, as I walk on
I look to the stars
And think of you
It feels like you're still here
And Esther your love
Will get us through.

[Applause, cheering]

Matt: Thank you.

Wayne: You thought I was joking!


That's amazing. 

Lori: Thank you Lauren and Matt.

Wayne: Yeah.

Lori: We love you.

Matt [shouting from backstage]: We love you, too!

[Audience Laughter]

Lori: Did you hear something? [she chuckles] Uh, well, we have the joy of introducing to you a very large group of people at this time.

Wayne: Very strange.

Lori: And we can't really describe them, so we're going to let them describe themselves, but we can tell you that basically, Catitude saved Esther. 

[Audience "aww"s and giggles]

And, what else was I going to say?

Wayne: You were going to mention that three people--

Lori: I was going to introduce the three people who are speaking--
Wayne: --Yes, three spokespersons.

Lori: --To tell your story. And that is Katie Twyman, Lindsay Ballan--

[Audience Laughter]

Wayne: Ballantyne.

Lori: --tyne. Valentine, Ballantyne. 

Wayne: Ballantyne.

Lori: How could I forget? And Teryn Gray

Wayne: But before you come up, I wanted to say my contribution to introducing Catitude is, um, it's like Esther had these holy horcruxes that she just threw out there, all over the internet. 

[Audience Laughter]

Because I'm trying redeem horcrux, okay? I've seen the movies, I've seen the movies. 

Lori: Horcruxes aren't bad, they're just parts of...

Wayne: Parts of somebody.

Lori: Yeah, so if it's parts of something good, right?

Wayne: So, holy horcruxes.

Lori: Right, Andrew? 

Wayne: Holy horcrux. 

Lori: We might be mixing up the story. 

Wayne: We d--yeah. I did, but I saw the movies, so...

Lori: Okay [chuckles].

Wayne: Okay. Catitude, would you come up to stage? Here comes the cats.

Lori: So, Catitude, thank you.

Wayne: Alright.


Teryn: Hi, guys. Wayne, we'll have to talk later about what horcruxes, you know, really are. 


Alright. I would just like to mention that they're evil, Wayne, they're not really a good thing. Just a heads up. 

Lindsay: Adding the word "holy" in no way gets you off the hook.


Teryn: So, hi, I am Teryn Gray.

Katie: I'm Katie Twyman. 

Lindsay: And I'm Lindsay Ballantyne, and I'm really tall, so, you know. 


Teryn: And all of this is the rest of Catitude. 

Katie: Well.

Teryn: Well.

Lindsay: There are a few people who aren't here, but you get the gist of how massive we are. 

Katie: We want to say hi, hi to those of you who weren't able to make it. We still love you. 

Catitude [collectively]: Hi! 

Teryn: They also don't know what we're saying, so they get to listen in as you guys do. 

Lindsay: So, great. (?) Um, so, friendships are weird. They take time and trust and technology.

Teryn: And, like, telekinesis.

Katie: Trampolines.

Teryn: And tigers.

Katie: And tacos.

Lindsay: Guys.

Teryn: And toilets.

Lindsay: You guys, getting carried away with the alliteration there.

[Audience chuckles]

Teryn: Well, sorry, you said technology.

[They laugh]

Lindsay: Well, in our case it's true. Anyway, as I was saying, friendships are weird, and add the internet, and things only get weirder.

Katie: So, on Esther's fifteenth birthday, around two dozen of us were thrown into a Skype chat that would eventually become Catitude.

Lindsay: You're probably wondering why people call us Catitude. The answer's in the book, and we apologize in advance that it's not a better story.

Katie: But, anyway, we met up on Esther's birthday, and for months after that, we would find ourselves online, like, every single night, for hours at a time.

Teryn: Yep, we talked about silly little things like baguette duels and Harry Potter trivia, but eventually, after a while, et cetera et cetera, the content of our Skype calls changed a little bit.

Katie: We started talking about the hard things that we were typically too guarded to open up about, and we started learning that we could lay out our doubts with each other and our hopes and our passions, without fear of being judged about them, while still talking about, you know, silly, stupid things too.

Teryn: Yeah. And Esther played a huge part in making that transition happen.

Lindsay: Yeah, it sort of felt like she was, um, she was on a mission to to really get to know each person in the chat.

Teryn: And, looking back, she probably was.

Lindsay: Which, getting to know that many people, that's a lot of people. Um, she insisted that we call each other, and she would interrupt the stream of constant text in the chat with "I need faces!" And then, next thing you know, we were in a video call for hours, until the morning.

Katie: Literally, until the morning. She was also really good at reminding us to check in with each other. She would leave us voice mails, singing in the middle of the night, and she'd leave Facebook messages and videos on our pages that we really couldn't understand.

[Audience Laughter]

Teryn: Um, having each other, all of these people, was really comforting, and it made the, the scary parts of being a teenager seem not so threatening. Um, I can't tell you enough how comforting it was to know that we weren't alone in whatever it was we were going through. 

Katie: So, in Catitude, we got really used to always looking at each other with these pixelated faces, and talking through Skype calls.

Lindsay: We still love our choppy Skype calls. 

[The girls laugh]

Teryn: We used to spend hours, um, not even talking, just sitting and listening to the background noises of each other's rooms. Uh, we didn't have to talk, it was just really comforting to know that we were in each other' presence. 

Katie: So the, when we suddenly were in real life, high definition, it was, you know, cool, because it felt completely the same, and natural to be with each other. 

Lindsay: Yeah, it was obvious that though we had never "met" in the standard sense, our friendships were just as substantial as they would have been if we had forged them in real life. 

Teryn: Yep. 

Lindsay: In person.

Teryn: Um, for example, when I first saw Esther for the first time, uh, she hugged me and said "You're so real!" over and over and over and over, like--

Lindsay: Yes. 

Katie: She did that to every single one of us who got to attend Make-A-Wish. Uh, taking internet friendships into the realm of IRL is really strange, mostly because it feels equal parts weird and totally normal. [To Catitude] Especially with you guys.

Teryn: Um, it's not like we planned to become best friends, no one does, but I certainly didn't come into this thinking that I could even become best friends with a bunch of people I met on the internet.

Lindsay: Yeah, but it happened. Um, Esther was, and still is a huge part of this big family you see up here. Uh, we made a home together, both, sorry, both virtually and physically, and the video we're about to show you celebrates over five years of our unique friendship.

Teryn: Thank you.

[The song "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros plays in the background] 

[Applause. Laughter.]

Lori: Calm down, guys. 


Wayne: Well, we had some, we've been given some questions to answer. 

Lori: Thank you for, uh, writing down some of your questions, and we hope we, uh, give you an answer that is satisfactory. The first question, um, that I'm reading right here in front of me says, "What does 'This Star Won't Go Out' Stand for?" And, um, if you've watched John Green, you might've seen him wearing a bracelet, um, that says "This Star Won't Go Out". Uh, so, actually what I love about the name "This Star Won't Go Out" is that it started with Esther. Her friend, uh, who we had hoped would be here tonight, Alexa, if you're watching from North Carolina?

Wayne: North Carolina. 

Lori: From college, um, Alexa named, came up with the name. And during Esther's Make-A-Wish, she came to the event and handed us a bunch of bracelets for everybody, and she said the name "This Star Won't Go Out" had just come to her. So, Esther was so excited to have this bracelet that was in her honor, and when Esther had died, and we got money because John had been wearing the bracelets, and people wanted to buy them. And so he started selling them to help us, and after Esther left us, we started a foundation called "This Star Won't Go Out", named in honor, the bracelet named in honor of Esther, and that's how the book got it's title too. So, we've uh, the do--the foundation gives away money to help families that have kids with terminal illnesses, and has given away over one hundred and thirty thousand dollars, raised by Nerdfighters, Harry Potter fans, and people like you.

[Audience cheers and applauds]

And it's continuing to grow, and we are so excited and thankful to be part of that. 

Wayne: Yes. My question is, um, how did get to be so handsome? No, that was another one.

[Audience laughs]

Lori: You already did that one, earlier. 

Wayne: (?) Okay. Did you ever--

Lori: Old joke, old joke. New jokes. 

Wayne: I don't think they've heard that one before this. Um, "did you ever think that Esther's friendship with John Green would lead to this?" To this...would lead to, of course.

[Audience laughs]

On my mind from the beginning. Um, yeah, boy, you know, she's online, and she's meeting all these people and they're interesting and she's like, "Dad, there's this guy, he's in his thirties and he's really cool." What?

[Audience laughs]

What are you watching over there? And, uh, you're doing the research, checking it out, watching his vlogs, thinking, this guy talks too fast. I speak English, I don't understand a word he's saying, and he's so smart, um, so it took me time. I had to slow it down and listen to the videos. But, you know she met him and I, I promised Esther, I said, "Esther, you know, I...if you pa--if you die before I do, I will write your story. And If I predecease you, you promise to write my story, because I knew she could write, I'd read some of her journals--with permission.


And I would take papers out of the trash and flatten them and she, she said "Dad, what're you doing?" and I'd say "This is good stuff." "Oh, Dad." And um, so I promised to write her story, and after she died I did, and I sent a copy of that to John, um, knowing that he was a friend, and that he cared so much about our family and about Esther. So, what he, what if Esther hadn't been a good writer, you know, I'm sure John gets all kinds of unsolicited manuscripts, and it wasn't like, "publish this, John", it was just "this is a gift to you, from our family." Uh, if he hadn't been who he was, if Esther didn't have talent, if we didn't keep that story alive, then we wouldn't all be here tonight. So, he's given us a real gift. So, yeah, did I know that from the beginning? Uh, we'll leave that a mystery. 

Lori: (1:23:55) (Reading) "What's your favorite John Green book?" Um, 

Wayne: His future one, the next one. 

Lori: Hmm...yeah, the next one, that's a good answer, that's very diplomatic. The next one, John.

[Audience laughs]

Um, The Fault In Our Stars, well, there's (?) pretty great characters in The Fault In Our Stars. I have to say I kind of like that one, it's dedicated to Esther, so I kind of like that one.

Wayne: Yes, right, right.

Lori: First book of John Green's I read, uh, was, uh, Looking For Alaska, and I really like that book.

Wayne: Mm-hmm.

Audience Member: Woo! 

Lori: Um, I liked Abundance of Katherines, I liked Paper Towns--well, okay, favorite book--

Wayne: We love them all!

[Audience Laughter]

Lori: But what I love about John's books, and what I love is really that his, his story is about, his stories are about community, and how we need to care for each other, and how we're sometimes lonely, and how we look for love, and those are all the messages that Esther cared about, and so, um, so I guess I like all of his books. 

Wayne: (1:24:54) Absolutely, absolutely. And his favorite movie's coming out, of mine, is coming out in June. 


Um, what's it like--"what's it like to have a famous, well-known book dedicated to your daughter?" I mean, that's, we've been talking about that, but it's surreal, and John contacted us that fall, after les--after Esther left us, yeah, (?) Esther day, Yesterday--and said "I want to dedicate it to your daughter, is that okay?" And we had to think about it, you know, all of a second.


It's such an honor. Um, but it is unusual to have somebody recognized, and it's, but it's a gift. We see it as a responsi--as a treasure, as a tremendous privilege, and we appreciate it very, very much. And Esther would be fangirling all over the place.

[Audience laughs]

She'd be here tonight! She'd be here tonight, sitting next to you, um, thinking, "this is so exciting! This is so exciting, this person is amazing! This book, I've gotta read this book!" You know, I mean, we marked, we marked the summer, you know, by her. Not by the calendar, but by the freckles that were appearing on her face, you know? And to have somebody say, "hey, I'm going to tell the world about this person!" I mean, you don't just get, you don't get that. You know, we got, we got cancer metastasized to the lungs? That's a lottery that you don't want to win, you don't want to enter, you don't want anything to do with that. But to get this lottery to get a book, and it goes right to the big people, I mean, Julie's the big people! She's, be nice to her, she's the lady. And, um, it's just an honor, so what's it like? You'll have to get back to me after this...changes.

Lori: After this event.

Wayne: Yeah. Yes, what's your question?

Lori: What's your favorite memory of Esther? Um, okay...


Wayne (to audience): What's your favorite memory of Esther?

Lori: What's your favorite memory of life, right?

Wayne: Are you asking them? 

Lori (to audience): What's your favorite memory of Esther? Anybody have a favorite memory of Esther, you can help me out? See how hard that is?


Wayne: Okay, thank you for that. (?) Yeah. 

Lori: Esther used to take my cheeks, my cheeks, when she was little, and say "hi mommy, I love you." That's a favorite memory. 

Wayne: She'd say--tell them the one about, uh, the, the curtains. 

Lori: Well, she was just a kid, right? Come up behind the curtains, and there's scissors in one hand and, and hair in the other. 

Wayne: Oh no, not that one, not that one.

Lori: Not that one? Oh, well there's lots of them. 

Wayne: Mommy... (?)

Lori: And she'd say (kid voice) "I didn't do it!" 

Wayne: Oh, you mean cutting her hair, yeah. 

Lori: Yeah. 

Wayne: No, well, she'd say "Oh, mommy, you got a new bath curtain, it's so pretty."

Lori: Oh.

Wayne: That's what I was thinking about. 

Lori: She, she was excited about lots of things, so. I have lots of favorite memories, and I hope you have some favorite memories, um, of Esther, or favorite memories in your life. It's something to think about. 

Wayne: Yeah. So, is Jared the Nerdfighter here? Jared the Nerdfighter? Alright, that's alright, because I wanted to ask him a question. He's the first one that gave five dollars to our foundation. Um, thank you for the questions. Please keep asking them. We have a Tumblr, you can reach us. We want to hear from you, we want to know what you think, we want to interact with you. We're not, like these people who are going to go and hide away in a cave, we want to talk to you. So, any other--do you have any other questions you want to...

Lori: Um, is there one more question from the audience, that you didn't get a card?

Wayne: One more?

Lori: It's taking a risk, right?

Wayne: Last chance.

Lori (to audience member): Yes.

Audience member: Hi. 

Lori: Hi Sabrina. 

Wayne: See, we know everybody's name. 

Lori: Yes, we, I know all of your names, I've memorized them all. 

[Audience laughs]

Audience member: I'm not sure if I should ask this but is there ever any great prank that Esther ever did that we may not know about?


Wayne: Is there ever any, ever any great prank that Esther ever did that we may not know about?  I could tell her, ill tell her the one about the e-mail.Yeah briefly, ah so...

Lori: Ooh

Wayne: Esther about, you know, 11, 12 years old and she decides to send an e-mail to her sister, Evangeline, from Mike. Who "likes her".

[Audience laughs]

Wayne: So Mike, Mike I seen you at school and you were hot. one hot, one hot tomato and Mike lets hang out and so Evangeline flattered and, and she did it because she wanted the attention from Evangeline and she didn't feel like she was getting it so she sis that. And then she felt so guilty so she-

Lori: Well, Evangeline started writing back.

Wayne: Right, well of course.

[Audience laughs]

Wayne: Yeah, what was she doin' writing back? That says, sketchy people. So she, so, so Esther feels guilty and she writes in her Journal "I'm just the worst sister ever in the whole wide world.", you know, "I did this terrible thing, i am awful." and se writes to her big sister, Abigail, who's away, and says im just a terrible sister and Abby responds like a perfect sister. "What is wrong with you? Why did you do this thing?" And, er, she eventually feels terrible and she writes it all in her journal. Well Evangeline just happens to read her journal. You know, this whole journal thing, reading peoples other... and um...

Lori: How did you feel Angie?

[Wayne laughs]