Thanks to Jessie and Max, JoyJars Bring Smiles to Children with Cancer and Heart Disease
By Adam Pick on January 18, 2014
We all encounter challenges in life. Some are small. Some are big. And, some are devastating. How we respond to those challenges is up to us. We have a choice. Some of us retreat. Others rise above.
The story of Jessie Rees is an extraordinary example of someone who chose to rise above. In 2011, Jessie — at the young age of 12 — was diagnosed with a life-threatening form of brain cancer. During her out-patient treatment, which included radiation and chemotherapy, Jessie noticed that many children at her hospital were too sick to leave the hospital. So, to bring joy to their lives, Jessie started making JoyJars to brighten up their day.
As shown in this inspirational video, Jessie would go on to help thousands of children around the world.
Jessie’s altruistic desire to help others resulted in the launch of the Jessie Rees Foundation which is designed to support the (i) expansion of JoyJars and (ii) her courageous message to “Never Ever Give Up”.
Jessie Rees & Her JoyJars
JoyJars are now found in over 260 Children’s Hospitals and over 175 Ronald McDonald Houses.
Max, 9, Helps Bring JoyJars to Children with Heart Disease
On January 5, 2012, after a 10-month fight against two brain tumors, Jessie earned her angel wings and made her trip to heaven.
A testament to her mission, Jessie’s JoyJar concept has ignited a global effort to help all children in need. That effort was recently amplified when Max Page, a 9-year old heart valve patient and actor — who played Little Darth Vader in the viral Volkswagen commercial — decided to help broaden the reach of JoyJars from cancer to heart disease.
Max Page & Me
So you know, Max and I have a special bond. It turns out that Max and I had the same cardiac surgeon, Dr. Vaughn Starnes, the Chairman of Surgery at USC Keck School of Medicine.
And Then… 300 Edwards Lifesciences’ Employees Get Involved
To launch the JoyJars initiative in pediatric cardiac surgery, the Jessie Rees Foundation, Max and his mom Jennifer, were fortunate to team up with Edwards Lifesciences, a leading heart valve manufacturing company, to make over 1,000 JoyJars for children with heart disease.
The manufacturing of the JoyJars, which will be sent to Mended Little Hearts chapters around the country, took place on Friday night at Loews Hotel in Hollywood, California. To help make the JoyJars, over 300 employees from Edwards helped out. Yes, you read that right… 300 employees!
The Jessie Rees Foundation & Edwards Lifesciences JoyJar Team
A JoyJar Production Table
Erik Rees, Jessie’s Dad, Shows Us How To Make JoyJars
Over 1,000 JoyJars Being Made
JoyJars Ready To Be Shipped to Mended Little Hearts!
Thanks to Jessie and…
Although I never met Jessie, her story and spirit has warmed my heart – and the hearts of thousands, more like millions, of people around the world.
On behalf of our patient and caregiver community, I would like to thank Jessie, her family, the staff at the Jessie Rees Foundation, Max and Jennifer Page, and Edwards Lifesciences for the bringing so many smiles to so many children.
Keep on tickin!