It started with a simple question: How can we help them? It became an international movement called NEGU: Never Ever Give Up. When Jessica Joy Rees was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at age 11, she chose to focus not on herself but on bringing joy and hope to other children suffering from cancer.
During the ten months she battled cancer, she and her family worked in the “Joy Factory” (originally their garage) making JoyJars®—packages filled with toys, games, and love for other kids with cancer. Jessie first handed them out personally at the hospital where she was being treated, but the effort blossomed quickly and there were soon thousands of JoyJars® being distributed across the United States and to over fifteen countries. Today, more than 100,000 kids have received JoyJars®, and they continue shipping each week to kids in over 200 children’s hospitals and 175 Ronald McDonald Houses.
Jessie lost her battle with cancer in January 2012, but her message lives on in the Jessie Rees Foundation, which has become a beacon of hope for families fighting pediatric cancer.
Join the movement at www.negu.org.
This isn’t a fun book to read. Childhood cancer isn’t a laughing matter and yet something called to me as I read the release. As I read the Rees family story, I discovered why Never Ever Give Up is an important book to read.
This family took what I consider the very worst thing to happen to a family and used it for good.
Erik Rees (with Jenna Glatzner) takes readers through their journey when they were told their daughter had an inoperable brain tumor. He shares the diagnosis, treatment, the emotions of each family member. He writes about the bittersweet blessings along the way—inspirational people, surprise video moments, and more. He’s also candid about the double-edged sword of having Jessi share her story through social media. It was definitely a full look at their journey.
Through all of it, the heart of Jessi shines through. She was a champion of “NEGU—Never Ever Give Up.” She also created JoyJars—jars full of toys and games she distributed to other kids with cancer. If anyone had a reason to sit back and rest, it was the Rees family. But they chose to bless others in their grief. And that’s worth reading and applying their mindset to our lives.
To learn more about the Jessie Rees Foundation, NEGU, or the JoyJars, I strongly suggest you purchase a copy of Never Ever Give Up.
I received a copy of Never Ever Give Up from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.