6 Ways To Celebrate Esther Day (2023)

A speech bubble reads "I love you"

August 3 is Esther Day! This annual celebration honors Esther Earl, a young woman who died of thyroid cancer in 2010 and was an active member of Hank and John Green’s fan community, the Nerdfighters.

Esther Day is dedicated to celebrations of platonic and familial love, and of course the life and legacy of Esther herself. 

As a member of the Nerdfighter community and a big influence in John Green’s writing of his best-selling novel “The Fault In Our Stars,” John proposed before her passing that he and his brother celebrate Esther’s birthday on August 3 for as long as their YouTube channel continued.

He told her that the holiday could be focused on a theme or topic of her choosing, and Esther chose love. 

Esther was passionate about love between friends and family, and since her passing, her family has continued her vision of supporting families affected by childhood cancer.

While it’s important to learn more about and uplift the experiences of folks impacted by cancer every single day, Esther Day provides a helpful place to start. We’ve created a guide on how to celebrate Esther Day this year.

By the way, some of the links in this article (like books!) are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Activities and Ideas: How To Recognize Esther Day

Tell someone you love them.

Tell someone you love them — and make sure it’s someone you don’t always say it to. We’re not talking about just your spouse or your dog … but also those friends and family members who are just always there — and already know how you feel but deserve to hear it. 

John said it best in his 2021 video about Esther Day: “[Esther] imagined a holiday where people celebrated all the kinds of non-romantic love, the love in friendships, in families, that too often goes unspoken,” he says.

“Like, what is it that makes it so hard for me to tell my brother that I love him, when I love him so much. So much that I feel the ache of it behind my solar plexus. It’s almost embarrassing, Hank, to talk about how deeply and dearly I love you.” 

Hank vulnerably shared the sentiment in his video the year following, sharing that it gets easier and easier to say he loves his brother with every Esther Day.

“I am more aware of the fact that all of this is temporary. There is just a deeper, truer thing than earning each other’s respect through accomplishment and that thing is going to be more and more important in the future,” Hank said in 2022. “And, God bless her for it, Esther made us practice.” 

Donate to This Star Won’t Go Out.

This Star Won’t Go Out (TSWGO) is a charity that the Earl family created to help other families going through childhood cancer in 2011.

Since then, TSWGO has helped hundreds of families with over $500,000 in direct funding to alleviate some of the financial hardship related to childhood cancer.

Funding projects are “extremely grassroots” and stem from folks around the world who host creative fundraisers in support of the families who need the most support.

Donate to This Star Won’t Go Out

Read Esther’s book.

Esther was a voracious writer and reader — which is part of why she was so drawn to John and Hank Green’s content to begin with. A few years after her passing, a collection of her writings was published and quickly rose to the New York Times bestseller list. 

The book also contains photos and essays by family and friends, as well as an introduction from John Green.

“This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl” is available on Bookshop and Amazon

Read other books about platonic and familial love. 

To celebrate Esther’s love of books and storytelling, Esther Day is a great opportunity to read and reflect on platonic and familial love. Here are a few recommendations to choose from:

Host a fundraising event for Esther Day.

According to the TSWGO website, past fundraising efforts have included ideas as simple as selling T-shirts and bracelets, or all-night rock-a-thons, carnivals, bake sales, battles-of-the-bands, head-shavings, and even a 5,000-piece domino art project. 

For this year’s Esther Day, consider hosting a fundraiser of your own!

Support a family impacted by childhood cancer in your community. 

Another great way to help folks impacted by childhood cancer is to simply get out in your community and provide support directly to those in need. 

Look for programs at local hospitals, join a meal train, provide support in the form of pet, child, or home care — or simply contribute financially to a GoFundMe or other fundraising platform. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When is Esther Day?

Esther Day takes place every year on August 3 in celebration of Esther Earl’s birthday. The day is celebrated in the online “Nerdfighter” community, led by Hank and John Green, to remind folks to express their love for friends and family.

Is “The Fault In Our Stars” based on Esther?

Esther Earl inspired the character Hazel Grace Lancaster in John Green’s novel, “The Fault in Our Stars.” Esther died of cancer at the age of 16 in 2010, and her name means ‘star’ in Persian. Her parents also started the nonprofit This Star Won’t Go Out in her honor.

How did John Green meet Esther?

John Green met Esther at LeakyCon, a convention for Harry Potter fans. They were both devoted fans of the book series and were active members of the Harry Potter Alliance (now Fandom Forward). The two formed a bond and became friends.

What are some Esther Day quotes?

We’ve compiled a few Esther Day quotes (from John and Esther) in our guide to the best August quotes.

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