My name is I get the honor of being the CEO of the and, more proudly, I get to be Jessie’s father. The Jessie Rees Foundation was inspired by my 11-year-old daughter, Jessie, during her fight with cancer. About three weeks into our treatment, we’re just leaving the hospital and she said, “Mom, Dad. When do all the other kids get to come home?”. And, I was like, “Well, Jess, there’s a lot of other types of cancers that children fight. Yours is one type, but there are all other kinds that cause kids to have to stay in the hospital for days and weeks and, unfortunately, some have to stay multiple months.”
The next words out of her mouth have literally changed the tapestry of my life because she simply said, from the backseat, “And, how can we help them?”. She really wanted to do something for them. So, we just said, “We’ll figure something out.” And, there was a jar on the kitchen shelf that Jessie had noticed and she said, “What about a jar?”. And, I was like, “For what?”. And, she goes, “To put toys in.” And, I was like, “Okay.” Jessie’s middle name was Joy and so, we just took joy and jars and created . A Joy Jar is a 64-ounce jar stuffed with new toys, games, and activities for kids fighting cancer. We make them for a few months old all the way up to 18, for boys and girls. And so, we stuff them primarily here at the Joy Factory, and then they are shipped out to either hospitals, , oncology camps, or straight to kids’ homes.
On January 5th, 2012, that was the day that Jessie lost her fight.. But during the fight, she was really the bright light for all of this because she loved the Lord and she knew the great commandment was to love God and love others. And so, during her 10 month and two day fight, she actually stuffed over 3,000 Joy Jars with her family and friends in the Joy Factory at that time, which was our garage. We’ve kept the Jessie Rees Foundation going and just passed 10 years. Now, we’ve been able to stuff and send over 350,000 Joy Jars to kids fighting cancer in all 50 states and 40 countries. Every day in the United States, 46 more children are diagnosed with cancer. We’re going to strive the best we can to be vessels of hope and joy and love to families in a really, really unfortunate situation.