Abigail's Journal
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Background & Introduction
(or, if you know the story already, click below to go to
Abigail's most recent letter)

Today's Letter



On April 1, 2011, John and Abigail Waller learned a new medical term, one they will never be able to forget. It is diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma” or "DIPG”.  

An MRI exam that morning revealed that their two-year old son Charlie had a fast-growing and inoperable brain stem tumor. Without immediate radiation treatment his life expectancy would be only a matter of weeks. After treatment it might be months, maybe longer. There is no known cure. To date, Charlie has survived nearly two years since his diagnosis.

Coming originally from Britain, John and Abigail, with their daughter Esther, had moved a few years earlier from Melbourne, Australia, to Michigan, where John took up a position as Associate Professor at Michigan State University.

Shortly after the diagnosis, friends, family and neighbors opened a "Friends of Charlie" bank account and created a website as a short term measure to provide financial assistance while the Waller family is enduring this crisis.

For the longer term, and in the hope of seeing something good and positive emerging from their own tragedy, Abigail and and John have established a new charity, the Art for Charlie Foundation.  By raising funds from the sale and promotion of art, the Foundation aims to fill gaps in the availability of pediatric hospice care and help other families suffering bereavement from the loss of a child.  

To help herself and others to understand what she and her family were going through, Abigail began recording her experience by way of imaginary letters to her son, Charlie. This record makes up the greater part of this website, Abigails Journal.

 www.ArtforCharlie.org and www.FriendsofCharlie.com, are companion websites to Abigail's Journal, conveying a similar message but fulfilling separate needs and objectives.

The waller family
John, Charlie, Abigail and Esther (Charlie's sister)

Abigail's Introduction to her Journal

September 11, 2011

I have been wanting to sit down and write for so long. I want to share our story -- the story of this very peculiar and morbid world that our family has stepped into.

I am not sure where to begin. Not sure I can really go back to April 1st when Charlie had his first MRI. Fifteen minutes into the MRI a doctor sat us down and explained candidly that Charlie had a brainstem tumor- a rare inoperable brain cancer that was terminal. He told us that when the MRI was completed Charlie would go to the pediatric intensive care unit. And if he did not begin radiation very soon he had two weeks to live.

I need to be careful what I say. If I am too honest, too morbid, reveal too many of my innermost feelings, I worry that people will be drained and ultimately pushed away. Because it’s all just too depressing.


Click here to read on . . .



Today's Letter


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