Reporting Lisa Sigell
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Update: Sadly, Jessie lost her battle with cancer on Thursday, January 5, 2012. Jessie’s memory and spirit will continue to live on through the thousands of people she touched and the foundation she inspired. » More
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Twelve-year-old Jessie Rees is fighting cancer, but she is not thinking about herself. Instead she is spreading happiness and hope to other children with cancer through her JoyJars.
Jessie carefully hand-picks perfect items to fill her JoyJars.
“We customize them for each [child]. We fill to their liking, so we’ll put special things in there for them,” Jessie said.
Usually she brings them to the hospital where nurses hand them out, but this time she delivered them herself to kids with cancer being treated at City of Hope.
“I’ve never done this before,” she said.
Jessie knows what it’s like to be in the hospital — she has brain cancer.
“She’s doing good. She’s in constant treatment. In September she was diagnosed with another tumor, so now she has two. But we’re definitely fighting. Her spirits are good,” said Jessie’s dad, Erik Rees.
Six months ago, a short time after her diagnosis, we brought you Jessie’s Story.
Back then she told us then what it is like to be a kid with cancer.
“There were points when you would cry, when you would have those days. And there were points when you were good,” Jessie said.
She has since endured countless rounds of radiation, chemotherapy and many procedures.
Jessie still truly believes that giving back is the way to not give in to her illness. She and her family started a foundation called NEGU, which means never ever give up. It includes her JoyJars.
“The simplest little thing can put a huge smile on a child’s face,” said Jessie’s mom, Stacey.
Since Jessie and her family started this project, they’ve given out 2,500 JoyJars. But Jessie has a bigger goal.
“That every kid gets one,” she said.
The JoyJars have been sent to children in 27 states.
Jessie now has more than 20,000 fans on Facebook and she calls each one a prayer.
“Did you ever think it would get this big,” I asked her.
“No. Personally, no. Yeah, not at all,” she said with a smile.
As she goes room to room at the hospital, she is handing out much more than gift jars, she is giving hope, love and a prayer to never ever give up.
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