DETROIT (FOX 2) - "There's a price to pay for love and sometimes it comes too early, and at 7 years -- that's way too early," said Mitch Albom.
But that's how old Chika was when she died. Best-selling author Mitch Albom is now chronicling how she lived in "Finding Chika." It's all about how this orphan from Haiti became a daughter to Mitch and his wife, Janine, as they traveled the world trying to find a cure for her deadly brain cancer called DIPG.
"It's the hardest book I've ever written - the most personal book I've ever written and I'd hope to think it's the best I've ever written. She deserves that," he said.
Chika was born in Haiti three days before the earthquake that killed more than 100,000 people in 2010.
"She's kind of symbolic of Haiti because she was born three days before the earthquake. So the third night of her life, her house collapsed - she slept out in the sugar cane fields. She was 3 days old so she was born tough, born into the soil of Haiti," Albom said.
Her family survived the earthquake but Chika's mom died during childbirth a couple of years later. Chika came to the Have Faith Haiti mission in 2013 -- the orphanage Albom has run since the earthquake. Two years after Chika's arrival, something was wrong.
"The report came back - two sentences - she has a mass on her brain and whatever it is there's nobody in Haiti who can help her," he said.
So they brought Chika to the U.S. They traveled to New York, to Europe, all in search of a cure and along the way, Albom says they became a family. Their little girl experienced all the wonder and joy of childhood along the way.
Mitch and Janine, who did not have children of their own, realized a family is what you make it.
"Families are based on love and as long as you have love and protection you have a family and that's what we had with Chika," he said.
Albom recalled her final days when she couldn't go sledding. She couldn't even walk.
"I said Chika, 'I gotta go' and she said, 'No, no stay,' and I said, 'This is my job,' and she said, 'No it's not, your job is carrying me,'" said Albom.
Albom realized she was right -- that was his job, a job he was so lucky to have.
"Our job -- all of our jobs -- is to carry our children and especially our sick children and our needy and our poor children and it is the best job I could ever have been asked to do," he said.