Never Ever Give Up: the inspiring story of Jessie and her JoyJars™ is really an amazon book! I had not heard Jessie Rees’ story before I read it, although I was somewhat familiar with the rare type of brain cancer, DIPG, that she had. Isaiah 11:6 says, “…and a little child shall lead them.” I’ve found this to be so true, and especially so in the case of Jessie Rees. Jessie lost her brief battle with cancer in 2011, but her spirit lives and leads on in her namesake foundation.
Jessie was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer at the age of 11. She lived just 10 valiant months. In those 10 months, Jessie lived more than most of us live in a lifetime. There is no doubt that the world is a better place because she was in it! Jessie didn’t feel sorry for herself when she was diagnosed with cancer. She had a special ability to look outward when most would (legitimately) look inward. Instead of dwelling on her struggles, she literally looked up (at the windows of the cancer ward at the children’s hospital) and asked “How can we help them?”
What began as a little girl’s desire to bring cheer to another child has grown into the Jessie Rees Foundation. The foundation began with the mission of giving local children JoyJars™ and has spread to a global movement for good, helping more than 500,000 children to have a little cheer in the darkest of times. Margaret Mead is quoted as saying “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” A small girl with cancer has done just that.
Jessie’s story is at once heart wrenching and inspiring. I shed tears when I read the account of her passing…the pain was palpable…but the overwhelming message is one of hope. In a world where terrorists are beheading journalists on camera, there are also good people who love God and who want to do kind things “unto the least of these.” If you need a dose of inspiration, read this book. Then, go do something to make the world a bit better. Jessie did so while fighting brain cancer. What’s your excuse?
*I was provided with a complementary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.