Friday, September 19, 2014
I received a copy of the book Never Ever Give Up: The Inspiring Story of Jessie and her Joy Jars by Erik Rees from Handlebar Publishing. After finishing the book, all I can say is Wow! Jessica Joy Rees was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor at age eleven. However, she did not let that stop her from her mission on this earth. She was determined to do as much as she could for others in her short time on earth. Jessie was a kind-hearted, warm soul who focused her love on others and was determined to be a light for God. She was diagnosed with DIPG, a rare cancer that usually does not allow children to survive even a full year after diagnosis. Jessie made the most of her time, and even when she was in pain herself, she was never selfish. Jessie's story demonstrates love and grace. She helped her family deal with the situation. She showed courage beyond her years. As I read this book, I was at times crying over the unfairness of it all, and at other times smiling and laughing at the wonder that was Jessie. She created her Joy Jars to distribute to kids who were in the hospital because she wanted them to have something to smile about and to know they weren't alone. Although she did not get a chance to grow up, she impacted many more people than she could have imagined. The book takes the reader on a journey of one family to try to help their daughter and themselves cope with a tragic situation. You see the positive outcomes of the situation, and you feel the frustrations and hurts of the family throughout this process. Erik Rees (Jessie's father) is honest in his struggle to find peace within the situation, and he shares many of his thoughts and fears throughout the book. It is an inspirational story, and one I think needs to be shared. Jessie's attitude throughout the book gives us hope that there are good people in the world, who want to make a positive difference and show God's love to others. Because of Jessie and her Joy Jars, many families and children have been given joy and courage. Jessie's motto was Never Ever Give Up, and her prayer warriors became known as the NEGU Nation. NEGU lives on, even after Jessie's short life ended. NEGU reminds all of us daily to never give up and never take one another for granted. This book was truly inspiring. #NEGUBook.