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September 20, 2019 3 min read

Sometimes we have to go through hard times in life. And who doesn’t know the feeling of thinking about anything but something to laugh about while doing so?
Today’s blog post comes from Isabel, who founded the Stiftung Valentina with her family after the death of her little sister.

Thank you, Isabel, for sharing Valentina’s story with us and showing us how important it is to be as happy as possible even in difficult times.

As it goes, in Isabel words :

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” We all know this quote from Roald Dahl‘s "The Twits" But is it really true? What if you have to undergo chemotherapy, lose all your hair, eyebrows and eyelashes and become really pale and skinny? This was what my little sister Valentina had to endure. When she was only 12 years old, she was suddenly diagnosed with a highly aggressive bone tumor. Her only chance of survival (20%) was to undergo the most vicious and toxic chemotherapy.

Like this, my strong, slightly chubby and healthy little sister all of a sudden turned into a tiny, pale little ghost. But this did not make her ugly at all! Valentina was so full of positivity, love and an incredible zest for life that she turned into the most radiant and beautiful little girl I have ever seen – even more so than when she was still healthy!

She gave her tumor a name – she called him Hugo. Then she began to fight Hugo with full force, brimming over with life. She was always cheerful, funny and true to herself – and stayed like this until the very end. Valentina joked around with doctors and nurses, did not want any pity and always made sure that everybody was happy. When I came from Berlin to visit her and she had to leave for hospital before my arrival, she always prepared little welcome presents to surprise me. Shortly before her last Christmas, which we partly celebrated in hospital, Valentina made some nice and warm jumpers as presents for my mum and me. And for my mum‘s birthday – which was two days before Valentina died – she painted lovely pictures in hospital to make my mum happy.

Valentina always wanted to be normal – but she was super special. She was full of love, gratitude and appreciation of life, and she abundantly shared all this with everyone around her. Due to her cheerfulness, positivity and strength, she attracted a lot of friends who supported and loved her profoundly. Because spending time with Valentina was simply beautiful.

When Valentina had to cancel chemotherapy and her chances of survival dropped to 1%, she asked my mum if she could have a little cactus because she found that the cactus looked a lot like her with her hair growing back in little spikes after chemotherapy.

This little cactus became the logo of Stiftung Valentina – a charity my family and me founded after Valentina‘s death. With this charity, we want to carry on Valentina‘s positivity and zest for life. In her name we are now supporting other severely ill children and their famililes. We want to help them keep up the highest possible quality of life until the very end – because Valentina showed us that each and every day is a gift to be seized and enjoyed to the fullest.

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