Never Ever Give Up by Erik Rees is the awe inspiring book about the life of his family in the year following the diagnosis of his 11-year-old daughter, Jessie's brain cancer. This book takes the reader from Jessie being an average normal little girl who had a vision problem to being a girl who had an incurable brain tumor in a matter of days. This book tells of how Jessie during a time in the hospital noticing that some of the children had to stay in the hospital and not get to go home as Jessie did to her family. After spending time at the hospital preparing for the treatment Jessie asked the simple question, "How can we help them?" Her parents teared up and didn't answer and quickly placed that question on the back burner as they contemplated how they were going to handle family life with a child with cancer but Jessie continued to ponder how to help them. That night when the parents entered the kitchen to start dinner there was Jessie surrounded by brown paper lunch bags decorating them with stickers and markers and filling them with small toys which included her entire prized beanie baby collection. Jessie was prepared to give away what she prized in order to help out other children who had cancer. Erik, pastor at the Saddleback Church, was in the business of helping people and knew there would be rules governing gifts to children so he told Jessie he would help her by checking into what those rules were and then they would go from there. They decided that the gallon plastic jars that pretzels came in would make a better container that the lunch bags and requirements stated that the gifts had to be new. Jessie lost her battle with cancer in the following 10 months but during those 10 months Jessie's goals would go from trying to make a JoyJar, which is what she ended up calling her gifts, for each child in the Children's hospital in Orange County California to supplying a JoyJar for each child in America. By her death the Never Ever Give Up movement started by this young girl in California went world wide. This is what one person can do. Jessie did not let a death sentence stop her from doing good.
I loved this book though I often couldn't see it because I was so teary eyed. This book makes the majority of us ashamed of what we do with our time when such a sick child could do this in the short 10 months that she lived from her decision to help others until her death. This book is well written by her father. He also includes how the family functioned as a unit though the bad times and tips on treatments for children's rare cancers. This is a difficult book to read because it is a true story of a little girl's fight with cancer and her eventual death but if you can make it through it is a book well worth reading. This review could have been done a few days earlier but I needed to mull over the emotions of the book.
I received this book from Handlebar for this review.