Today I had the honor of being in attendance of some of the strongest women I will ever meet. Although our stories are all different, our first chapter all started out with hearing the words “your child has cancer.” Words that will forever be imprinted into our hearts. We are part of a group that we never signed up for. Yet we are bonded in a way no one else can understand. We are a team and although this journey can sometimes be scary and lonely, no one fights alone.
7 years ago, one courageous mom lost her child to brain cancer. This courageous mom is Stacy Rees, mother to Jessie Rees for which the foundation is named after. This mom, the Rees family and Negu team put this first annual Courageous Mama’s Luncheon together so that other courageous moms can connect and be an additional source of encouragement to each other. This family lost their child and yet they fight so hard to encourage other families to Never Ever Give Up. I am still at a loss of words when I try to think of what they have endured and how amazing it is how they keep their daughter’s legacy alive by helping bring joy to other courageous kids and families.
Today we shared hugs, stories, laughs and many tears. We enjoyed a delicious brunch and if that wasn’t already enough, we were each gifted a special boost of love with this lovely Negu bag filled with thoughtful items for parents to use along the journey.
So grateful to have been able to be a part of this amazing event and have been brought together with other courageous moms. Thank you Jessie Rees Foundation for all the love you showed us today and everyday for all that you do!
For those of you who are not familiar with the Jessie Rees Foundation, it was created in honor of Jessica Joy Rees, better known as “Jessie”. She was a 12 year old girl who courageously fought two brain tumors (DIPG) from March 3, 2011 to January 5, 2012. During her courageous fight, she decided to focus on helping other kids fighting cancer that couldn’t leave the hospital. When Jessie learned that some kids never get to leave the hospital after their treatment she asked her parents “How Can We Help Them?” This desire led to the creation of her fun-filled JoyJars® and the Never Ever Give Up (aka: NEGU®) message.
Jessie personally sent over 3,000 JoyJars to kids during her fight. Now over 250,00 JoyJars have been stuffed and sent to courageous kids nationwide and in 41 other countries thanks to events like this one, along with the many donors, supporters and volunteers. Her family along with many volunteers and donors keep her legacy alive and continue to encourage other kids and families while they battle childhood cancer.