Archive for February, 2015


Esther Grace Earl’s short life inspired the bestselling book, The Fault in Our Stars and the blockbuster movie of the same name. Since her death in 2010 she is far from forgotten as her parents prepare to bring her story to Houston and extend Esther Grace’s exuberant influence on Thursday, April 2 at the 2015 Houston Hospice Butterfly Luncheon.

This Star Won't Go Out

Lori and Wayne Earl, Esther’s parents and co-authors of New York Times Bestseller and Goodreads Choice 2014 winner This star won’t go out: The Life & Words of Esther Grace Earl, will share the amazing story of Esther Grace; her battle with cancer and her wit, courage and unflappable spirit that inspired one of the biggest teen phenomena of our era. With Esther as muse, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars explored the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love.

People Magazine gave This star won’t go out 4 stars saying, “This moving read will have you reaching for the tissues and smiling with delight. Stunningly alive on the page, Esther shows that sometimes the true meaning of life—helping and loving others—can be found even when bravely facing death.”

Together, Lori and Wayne contributed to and curated the memoir of their daughter, Esther Grace Earl. One of five children, Esther was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 12-years old. Before losing her battle with cancer in 2010, Esther’s friendship with John Green became the inspiration for the book and movie, The Fault in Our Stars.

Inspired by their daughter’s energy and natural empathy, Esther’s parents set up the non-profit foundation This Star Won’t Go Out (TSWGO). The foundation works to serve families with children diagnosed with life-threatening cancer. To date, TSWGO has given away $200,000 in financial grants.

Lori Earl works as an Instructor and Student Success Coach at Quincy College. A certified secondary English teacher, with degrees in Psychology and Intercultural Studies, she is passionate about encouraging others to move towards wholeness, live life fully, and make a difference in their world.

Wayne and Lori Earl_Credit Jesse Costa-WBUR

Lori and Wayne Earl – Photo Credit Jesse Costa

Wayne Earl has taught philosophy for many years at Quincy College and he taught English overseas in Belgium and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Wayne has served several churches as a protestant minister in Massachusetts and France and worked as an ecumenical chaplain for Volunteers of America, a social services organization that focuses its work serving the very neediest. In college and seminary Wayne studied psychology and theology and he recently completed doctoral studies in Spirituality and Story at Wesley Seminary in Washington, DC. His doctoral project focused on young adult grief and resilience and is entitled: Giving Sorrow Words: Helping Young Adult Grief Find Its Voice.

The Butterfly Luncheon supports a cause that is very close to the Earl’s hearts — it benefits the operations of Houston Hospice and provides the primary funds to support the Butterfly Program. The Houston Hospice Butterfly Program was established in 1996 to provide for the distinct hospice needs of infants and youth aged 18 and younger. The program includes perinatal services for families who have received a prenatal diagnosis indicating their infant will likely have a limited lifespan. A Butterfly Team consisting of physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers, aides and volunteers with expertise in children’s physical and emotional well-being, is devoted to caring for children and their families. The Butterfly Program’s maxim is, “Measure not the length of their days, but the grace of their flight.”

On behalf of Chairmen Lesha and Tom Elsenbook, the community is invited to attend the Butterfly Luncheon and be inspired by Esther Grace, through her parents Lori and Wayne Earl, on Thursday, April 2, 2015 at the beautiful Houstonian Hotel located at 111 North Post Oak Lane, Houston, Texas 77024. Individual tickets and table reservations are available at For more information about the Houston Hospice Butterfly Program and Luncheon, visit or call 713-677-7123.

Founded in 1980, Houston Hospice has evolved from an alternative, grass roots concept to a leader in hospice care for people of all ages and walks of life. Houston’s oldest, largest, independent hospice is a nonprofit organization that is community-based and community-supported. Houston Hospice serves Texans from all socio-economic groups irrespective of ethnicity or beliefs. Care is provided in-home and in residential facilities throughout Austin, Brazoria, Colorado, Fort Bend, Harris, Jackson, Matagorda, Montgomery, Waller and Wharton Counties. Inpatient and respite care is provided through the Margaret Cullen Marshall Hospice Care Center located in the Texas Medical Center.

-Karla Goolsby

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As our population ages, medical professionals are finding that cultural factors influence the decisions of the patients and their families as their illnesses progress. End of life care involves a time of

Dr. Hanh Trinh

Dr. Hanh Trinh

medical, financial, and emotional changes for patients and their families. Patients can be referred to hospice when they are diagnosed with a terminal condition with a prognosis of 6 months or less. Hospice provides a team-oriented method of addressing not just physical pain, but also spiritual and emotional pain.

The cost of hospice care is covered entirely by Medicare and Medicaid for patients with these benefits. For those patients with private insurance, verifying benefits with the insurance company is important prior to signing on. The hospice team can provide services wherever the patient lives, whether that is in a home, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home. In the case that the patient has uncontrolled symptoms of pain, nausea, shortness of breath, or restlessness, hospice has inpatient facilities which may provide a higher level of care.

Having a hospice team to address their concerns and a 24-hour hospice nurse to call can provide families with the peace of mind that they are not alone, even in their most trying times. The hospice team can follow patients and families on their journey through illness; from the time their active treatments are no longer beneficial, to comforting moments enriched by hospice’s supportive care when patients can be among their loved ones. To learn more about hospice comfort care visit or call 713-467-7423 (713-HOSPICE).

Thuy Hanh Trinh, MD

Thuy Hanh Trinh, MD, MBA, FAAFP, FAAHPM, WCC, is an Associate Medical Director at Houston Hospice in Houston, Texas. She received her medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans and trained in family medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Following residency, she completed her geriatric fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine and her palliative medicine fellowship at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She joined Houston Hospice in 2007 and serves as the Education Liaison.

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