Never Ever Give Up – The Inspiring Story Of Jessie And Her Joy Jars

Never Ever Give Up by Erik Rees

Never Ever Give Up by Erik Rees – Book Review

Did you know that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?

I didn’t, until very recently.

Chances are, unless someone you know has been touched by this terrible disease, you are probably unaware of the following statistics:

  • 1 out of 300 children will have cancer before the age of 20.
  • More than 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children (after accidents).

You are probably also unaware that the American Cancer Society spends just 1% of its annual public revenues funding research for all pediatric cancers combined!

September Is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

I recently became more aware of the terrible toll that childhood cancer takes on the families it strikes – and how we can help to lighten their loads – after reading an inspiring book called Never Ever Give Up – The Inspiring Story Of Jessie and Her Joy Jars®, which is written by her father Erik Rees (with Jenina Glatzer).

Never Ever Give Up brings to light the incredible story of a courageous young girl named Jessie Rees, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called DIPG when she was 11 years old. The book chronicles Jessie’s battle with cancer, but what’s most remarkable about Jessie’s story is the legacy that she has left behind.

Jessica Rees

Never Ever Give Up draws you in from the start. As Jessie’s story unfolds, you can’t help but feel you are right there with her and her family throughout every part of their journey.

  • You are with them when her father first notices that his daughter is having vision problems and schedules her for an eye exam, believing she is manifesting symptoms of a previously diagnosed lazy eye.
  • You are with them when they receive the heart-wrenching news that their daughter has an inoperable brain tumor for which there is no cure.
  • You are with them when Jessie begins her radiation treatments.
  • You are there when Jessie – a sensitive, compassionate girl who cares more about the suffering of others than about herself – sees other cancer patients who cannot go home at night like she can, and asks her parents, “How can we help them?”

At the time, Jessie’s parents were surprised by the question – they thought it was sweet of her to ask – but gave it just a “superficial acknowledgement”. Little did they know that her question was about to change the course of their entire lives!

Later that evening, they found Jessie sitting at their kitchen counter decorating lunch bags and preparing to deposit goodies such as her Beanie Babies in them. Only then did they realize that Jessie was truly serious about truly focusing her attention on those “less fortunate then herself” – even though she was walking around with two inoperable, incurable brain tumors in her head!

1000 Joy Jars

This small act of love led to the creation of Jessie’s Joy Jars® – fun filled jars filled with new toys and games for children fighting cancer! Jesse personally sent over 3000 Joy Jars® to other children while she was battling cancer!

Ten months after Jessie began her battle with brain cancer, she earned her angel wings – but her legacy lives on. Today, the Jesse Rees Foundation carries out Jesse’s wish to help kids fighting cancer to Never Ever Give Up by providing them with the support and resources they need!

Since its inception, the Jessie Rees foundation has distributed more than 80,000 Joy Jars® to children in over 27 countries!

Childhood cancer is a terrible disease – but Never Ever Give Up is a truly inspiring story that you will not want to miss!

The book also includes a list of suggestions on how you can support families whose children are battling cancer.

I’m proud to be a part of the Launch Team for Never Ever Give Up. Won’t you help me spread the word!

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Never Ever Give Up – Book Trailer

About The Jessie Reese Foundation


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.

Jessie’s Wish is the sole mission of her foundation.


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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Handlebar Publishing for review purposes. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


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13 Responses to “Never Ever Give Up – The Inspiring Story Of Jessie And Her Joy Jars”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Bev Baird says:

    What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing all the links!

  2. Betty says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. This is quite inspirational.

  3. Stacie says:

    This is so inspirational! I may look into reading this. Thanks for sharing! #SITSblogging

  4. Beautiful Story… the world needs more “Joy Jars.”

  5. Carol Samsel says:

    Thank you for sharing this amazing story. I am always impressed with the capacity of love and courage that young people have . I am adding this book to my must read list!


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