Earlier I did a blog post about a book called Never Give Up by Erik Rees about this daughter who had cancer and then passed away from it. Well, Erik took time to answer some questions he got from some fans of the book and I get to share them with my readers.
Many of your friends and family members walked along side of you during this difficult process. How did this help?
Jessie was blessed to be part of a great school, church and swim team which provided her and our family wonderful emotional, spiritual and practical support. After Jessie moved to Heaven, we didn’t have to cook a meal for four months
Unfortunately, cancer strikes 1 in 300 children before the age of 20. What advice do you have for others who want to help a family with a child fighting cancer?
In the book I list all sorts of simple ways to help families with children fighting cancer. Families need help but don’t want to have to add “managing” the help to their already chaotic lives. The best thing to do if you really know the person is show up and do something. Don’t ask, “how can I help you?” Just help.
Over 80,000 JoyJars have been distributed internationally. How have you accomplished so much in such a small time frame?
We are actually nearing 100,000 JoyJars in all 50 states and 28 countries. We just received a request from Lima, Peru. Social media has been the best channel of communication for us. Jessie simply just started at Children’s Hospital of Orange County and it grew week by week. We now partner with over 275 children’s hospitals and 175 Ronald McDonald Houses.
How did your experiences with Jessie’s illness strengthen or challenge your faith?During Jessie’s fight it strengthened my faith as I depended on God to give me the wisdom, strength and peace to walk with Jessie and the family. I truly thought He would heal her physically. Unfortunately, God choose Heaven as a means of healing which challenged my trust in Him for months. Now, Heaven has never been more real to me and I can’t wait to spend time in eternity with Jessie and my Heavenly Father.
Do you have advice for other Christians who may be questioning God’s plan?I don’t know if I would call it “advice” but I would let them know they are not alone in their feelings. I questioned God many times and still do. I don’t question His love for me or Jessie. I questioned His choice in using Heaven as a healing agent. But now that time has past, I see His plan. Jessie was an Angel sent to Earth with a message (Never Ever Give Up) and a mission (childhood cancer). How else can you explain how one twelve year old girl, fighting cancer, choose to give to other kids and started a global movement of compassion that has raised millions of dollars to “care” for children/families fighting cancer around the world. My only answer is, God had a plan!In addition, I would encourage them to realize God’s plans don’t always match up to our own plans but He is still a loving and caring God. Faith in God is all about “believing” in our hearts and heads that God loves us no matter what and when we fully depend on Him, He will show us the way.
Tell us more about the Jessie Rees Foundation. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness month. How can we help?
The Jessie Rees Foundation is a global childhood cancer charity dedicated to ensuring every child fighting cancer has the support and resources to Never Ever Give Up. We fulfill our mission by 1) encouraging courageous kids to NEGU, 2) assisting courageous families to NEGU, 3) rallying communities to NEGU for courageous kids, 4) mobilize athletes to NEGU for courageous kids and 5) inspire the world to NEGU for courageous kids.
Each year in the US, the month of September is dedicated to “childhood cancer awareness”. If you have a social media platform, please join our Going Gold campaign and help raise awareness of this devastating disease.
I hope you all enjoyed some of this that I posted and will continue to support my blog!
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