The Jessie Rees Foundation was, and always will be inspired by one courageous and compassionate 12 year old little girl. Her name, Jessica Joy Rees, better known as “Jessie”. Jessie was a faith-filled, beautiful, athletic, caring and loving twelve year old girl who courageously fought two brain tumors (DIPG) from March 3, 2011 to January 5, 2012. She loved her family very much and her puppy Mr. Moe. During her courageous 10 month fight with two brain tumors, 12 year old Jessie Rees asked her parents to help encourage every kid fighting cancer to Never Ever Give Up – this wish is the sole mission of her foundation.
Jessie was only three weeks into her own difficult treatment, when she asked a question that would forever change the lives of thousands of kids, “How can we help them?”—referring to the other children in treatment at Children’s Hospital Orange County. That same night, while her parents, Erik and Stacey Rees talked privately, she began to create the beginnings of her JoyJars. JoyJars—named after Jessie’s middle name Joy, are plastic jars filled with age appropriate, hospital approved toys, games, and activities, along with a special note and bracelet—with her personal motto and inspirational message to NEGU, Never Ever Give Up!
The Rees family received tragic news in September 2011 that Jessie had a second inoperable tumor. But this did not stop her from continuing to fulfill her dream of encouraging children fighting cancer to Never Ever Give Up. She and her family personally stuffed and delivered over 3,000 JoyJars to kids in children’s hospitals right until Jessie earned her wings on January 5th, 2012. With more than 9,000 people attending her celebration service and countless more watching online, inspired by the legacy of 12 year old Jessie.