“I believe if we take the time to listen to our hearts about the things that bother us in the world and make the decision to do something rather than just feel bad about it, we can make life so much better for others and ourselves.” -Erik Rees.
About three months ago, I received a package containing a NEGU bracelet and the book “Never Ever Give Up.” The book tells the inspiring story of Jessie Joy Rees, a young girl diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called DIPG. Instead of focusing on herself, Jessie dedicated the rest of her life to helping other children. She created JoyJars and delivered them to children fighting cancer in hospitals. Her movement has now spread around the world, and her motivational message NEGU (Never Ever Give Up) became a beacon of hope. Although Jessie lost her battle with cancer at age 12, she won the hearts of many including mine, and her movement lives on.
For those of you not familiar with DIPG, it is a deadly cancer. Not many children diagnosed with it survive. Symptoms include:
- Headaches (especially upon awakening)
- Persistent hiccups
- Muscle weakness on one side of the body
- Clumsiness/ difficulty walking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Personality changes
- Hearing loss
- Double vision/ tilting head
Note: There may be one or two of these signs before diagnosis.
*Source: Rees, Erik. Never Ever Give Up. California: Zondervan.com, 2014. Print.
While reading Jessie’s story I kept thinking to myself How can I be less selfish? I have been going through a lot of problems, both personal and with family. Yet here was this young girl with an incurable brain tumor and she was thinking about others. It made me realize that I shouldn’t complain about my issues when there are people out in the world who have it worse than me. Jessie was a lot stronger than I am in so many ways and reading her story changed me. For that I consider her a hero.
I began this blog post with the quote above because we are the only ones who can make a change in this world. There are many issues that bother me, but I can’t expect a change to happen if I do not take the first step. We all need to take that first step in doing something whether its for childhood cancer, animal cruelty, civil rights, or anything else that tugs at your heart. Jessie believed in making the world a better place and made a huge difference. Let’s all remember that we can do the same, and when things get tough just remember to take a deep breath and NEGU.
To donate or for more information on the Jessie Rees Foundation please visit: http://negu.org/