TeamNEGU Blog

At the Jessie Rees Foundation, we are thankful to be able to introduce thousands of people to our mission, raise over 3 million dollars a year, and make an impact helping kids fighting cancer to Never Ever Give Up. This is in large part due to the efforts and dedication of the over 13,000 amazing volunteers we have annually. The Jessie Rees Foundation has delivered more than 260,000 JoyJars® to kids around the world. None of which would be possible without the help of our incredible volunteers, just like Suzy.

Suzy first heard about the Jessie Rees Foundation from a friend on Instagram. She was immediately interested and started learning more about Jessie and the Rees family by reading Erik’s book, “Never Ever Give up: The Inspiring Story of Jessie and her JoyJars”. Suzi told us, “I was so touched and impressed and contacted Kristy (Volunteer Manager) the next day to see how I could help. I started volunteering the following week and am so honored to be a part of this amazing organization!”

It has been 4 years since Suzy first began volunteering, and she tells us that the Jessie Rees Foundation has become very special to her. “As a retired elementary school teacher, I was definitely looking for an opportunity to work for/with children. I love the fact that the JRF centers on CARE. After many years of providing encouragement and support in the classroom, it brings me so much joy to be able to give encouragement and support to children/families impacted by childhood cancer.”

To Suzy, Jessie’s NEGU: Never Ever Give Up message is a universal message of encouragement – a valuable reminder to kids and families fighting the battle of cancer to Never Ever Give Up hope. “I strongly feel that hope sustains us in our most difficult moments.” She said, when her mom was battling cancer, Never Ever Giving Up hope was what kept her family going until the very end. “I also believe that we should Never Ever Give Up… caring, loving, giving, helping, sharing, learning, and encouraging every day in all that we do. I am so proud to be part of the NEGU Team!”

There have been many wonderful memories made by Suzy in her 4 years of volunteering, from stuffing individual JoyJars®, Birthday JoyJars and Sibling Packs, to working the annual NEGU Golf Classic and Jessie’s Birthday Celebrations, even tying blankets and counting toys. She tells us, “All have been special, but I think actually meeting and interacting with Courageous Kids and their families at the Joy Factory or special events has been the highlight for me.”

Suzy said, “The Jessie Rees Foundation is truly like family. Erik and Stacey are warm and welcoming and regularly check in with everyone to chat and show their appreciation. The JRF staff and other volunteers have become friends. It truly takes a village and what a village we have!!!”

We are so thankful for dedicated volunteers like Suzy who devote time each week to volunteer to help kids fighting cancer Never Ever Give Up! If you would like to get involved with the Jessie Rees Foundation, you can learn more here!

To learn more about Jessie Rees, find her story at

Suzy (right) sealing JoyJars® at Jessie’s birthday event.