As 2013 draws to a close, I wanted to highlight an inspirational young woman who lost her battle to cancer this year, but whose life’s legacy continues to inspire thousands of other children and their families. As a mom of two young daughters myself, I found Jessie’s story incredibly moving and sad but also very inspiring and hopeful.
On March 3, 2011, the Rees family of Orange County, California were told that their 12 year old daughter Jessie had an inoperable brain tumor. At the halfway point of her 30 rounds of radiation therapy at Children’s Hospital Orange County, Jessie told her mom and dad that she wanted to find a way to encourage every kid fighting cancer to “NEGU” (never, ever give up). This simple but inspiring idea has become “Jessie’s Wish.” She dreamed of the day that her motto would become an inspiring message of hope to everyone.
During her own courageous 10 month fight with two brain tumors, Jessie came up with the idea to create JoyJars® which are stuffed with hope, joy and love. JoyJars are sent to courageous kids around the world who are fighting life threatening illnesses and are 100% free to patients and hospitals. The jars are filled with new toys and activities, for boys and girls, and are intended for children ages 18 and under.
Jessie’s father, Erik, has channeled his family’s grief into the Jessie Rees Foundation. Erik has helped raise over 1.5 million dollars for pediatric cancer and the Jessie Rees Foundation has become a national symbol of hope, joy and strength for kids and families. Please visit the foundation online at http://www.negu.org, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JessieReesFoundation, and on Twitter https://twitter.com/@teamnegu. If you are similarly inspired by Jessie’s story, please consider sharing Jessie’s story with your friends.
“No child or family should ever feel alone in their fight. We are 100% committed to continuing what Jessie started and becoming the #1 source of ‘encourage-care’ within the pediatric cancer world.”