Saturday, September 27, 2014

Never Ever Give Up by Erik Rees

Never Ever Give Up: The Inspiring Story of Jessie and her JoyJars by Erik Rees (and Jenna Glatzer)

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.
JessieReesFoundation on FB 

Follow @TeamNEGU
JessieReesFoundation Instagram 
JessieReesFoundation YouTube 

My Review: This is the story of Jessica Joy Rees, as told through the eyes of her father. When Erik noticed that Jessie was having problems seeing, the family expected an adjustment with glasses and perhaps a few eye muscle exercises to take care of the problem. Jessie was a healthy, active 11 year old who shared her older sister's love of swimming. Both were on swim teams with promising futures as athletes. Jessie was at that age of enjoying fashion and shopping like her sister, but still willing to play games with her younger brother.

The news that her eye problems were due to an inoperable brain tumor devastated the family, but they were determined to take whatever measures necessary to prolong her life. Two things happened that proved Jessie was both a fighter and a giver: a friend encouraged her with the words, "Never Ever Give Up", which Jessie made into a slogan---NEGU, (pronounced 'knee-goo') and her determination to help cheer up other children she saw in the hospital who did not get to go home as she did (following radiation treatments). This, and her love of shopping, led to the creation of JoyJars. Her goal was to make sure that every child with cancer received one.

The book itself is the family's journey through Jessie's 10 month battle with cancer, both the ups and the downs. Of course there is sadness, but this is mostly a celebration of Jessie, and the certainty the Rees family has, through their belief in Jesus Christ, that Jessie is now healed and that they will one day be reunited. I recommend the book, and I certainly recommend you get involved with the Jessie Rees Foundation at
Remember, Never EVER Give Up! #NEGU

I was provided with a free copy form Handlebar in exchange for an honest review.

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