Jessie’s grandfather Leon sums up the motivation for the Jessie Rees Foundation by saying, “We don’t cure cancer. We cure bad days.”
Her grandfather, Leon Skeie, is a retired Orange Coast College kinesiology instructor. He says not a day by when he doesn’t think of Jessie and remember how caring she was for other children combatting cancer. “Jessie really had a heart for other children,” Skeie says. Skeie said he remembers her positivity, her laugh and her JOY.
On April 7, 2018, what would have been Jessie’s 19th birthday — volunteers, including about 10 Orange Coast College kinesiology students, gathered in Orange County to stuff JoyJars to send to Courageous Kids fighting cancer.
Separating items for girl JoyJars and boy JoyJars, volunteers worked to stuff 19 different toys inside and made about 1,900 by the end of the day.
“It was a cool experience,” 23-year-old exercise science major Juan Arredondo said. “It was heartwarming at the same time to be able to contribute to this organization.”
During the event, Skeie said he is grateful for all the support he has from OCC and its students. “Many sports teams at OCC asked me how they could help us,” Skeie said. “I am very fortunate and thankful to have support like this.”