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Athena Orchard: Family finds 'secret message' left by dead daughter

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Athena Orchard, 13, died of cancer, but before she passed away, she left a secret message for her family. The note was found behind Orchard's mirror in her bedroom. According to ABC News, Athena was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in December 2013.

This type of cancer (which is in the bones) is very serious. Athena collapsed around the holidays and doctors found cancer in her spine, left shoulder, and her head. Despite undergoing extensive treatment (which included a lengthy surgery and chemotherapy), Orchard succumbed to the disease just five months later. Athena died on May 28 but it wasn't until her parents started going through her belongings that they noticed the message that she left behind.

Athena Orchard was very smart and one might say that she was wise beyond her years -- something that many cancer patients can relate to because they tend to see life in a different manner. Athena wrote the message without telling anyone that she was doing so. What she wrote, however, was moving, real, and raw. Most importantly it was true. Her father, Dean Orchard, was surprised to find the note but admitted that it was just the type of thing his little girl would do. Her words, he says, are "heartbreaking."

Athena wrote:

"Happiness depends on ourselves. Maybe it’s not about the happy ending. Maybe it’s about the story. Every day is special, so make the most of it.You could get a life-ending illness tomorrow, so make the most of every day. Life is only bad if you make it bad."

Athena Orchard was a brave young girl. She will be missed by her family and friends and the mirror where she left her note will stay with them forever.

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