CNN named Jessie Rees one of their "Young Wonders" and recognized her work as part of their Heroes of the Year celebration on Sunday, December 2 at the Shrine Auditorium. The ceremony, hosted by Anderson Cooper, was attended by the Rees Family.
"Jessie's life work has now impacted the lives of 50,000 kids in her same fight against cancer and the way it can make otherwise outstanding kids lonely, labeled, and limited," said Erik Rees, Jessie's Dad and Chief Encouragement Officer of the Jessie Rees Foundation.
During the opening days of her fight against brain cancer, Jessie realizing that many children fighting cancer have long hospital stays took it upon herself to start to bring them toys and joy. Her effort soon grew into JoyJars and given her own motto of 'Never Ever Give Up' she completed over 3,000 of them personally.
"During her fight, Jessie taught us many things, one of the most important was what 'Never Ever Give Up' truly meant. She never gave up caring for courageous kids with cancer, and her work has only expanded because of her NEGU spirit," said Rees. "We are honored to have her life recognized by CNN and know that she will continue to be an inspiration for caring."
Each JoyJar carries 15-20 new, age appropriate, toys within its brightly covered sealed jar for courageous kids with cancer. Jessie started distributing JoyJars herself in 2011 during her fight against inoperable brain cancer. She passed away in January of this year and the foundation she started now serves 196 children's hospitals and every Ronald McDonald House in America. The foundation has over 1,000 volunteers and partners nationally with UPS, Life Technologies, Anthem Blue Cross of California, youtheory and others to make sure every courageous kid fighting cancer Never Ever Gives Up.