12-year-old Jessica Joy Rees lost her battle with brain cancer on Thursday, few days after her parents wrote on their blog about how they were excited for a great 2012 and being confident that the girl would reach her goal of making 50,000 of her “Joy Jars”.
Joy Jars were filled with candy and toys for sick children.
Jessica Joy Rees’ parents were exploring other medical treatments in Europe and out of reach of the FDA and they continued to pray and encouraged others to do the same.
Unfortunately, Jessica Joy Rees died after 10 months and 2 days of battle with the cancer.
“We have prayed and prayed and prayed for sweet Jessie to be healed here on earth but God’s plan was to use heaven for healing,” the parents wrote on Facebook when Jessica Joy Rees died on Thursday.
“Jessie earned her wings today and is with Jesus now!!! No pain..complete vision…spreading joy,” the post continued.
Calling on friends and fans to pray for their family, Eric and Stacey Rees told of their continued plans to help advance cancer research after Jessie lost her 10 month and 2 day battle.
Tens of thousands of people responded by posting updates to the page in a show of support that includes “likes” and prayers.
By Friday afternoon the outpouring surpassed Jessica’s goal to get one “like” for each of the estimated 50,000 American children with cancer.
“Thank you all for honoring Jessie by helping her reach her 50,000 goal today. We will NEVER EVER GIVE UP spreading hope, joy and love to kids fighting cancer. Jessie’s dream is now our destination!” Jessica Joy Rees’ parents wrote on her Facebook page shortly after she died.
Jessica Joy Rees, the Orange County seventh-grader, called “Jessie” by family and friends, began her blog and Facebook page after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in March.
A second tumor was discovered in September.
While some of Jessica Rees’ posts discussed her struggles as she underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments, others urged readers in dozens of countries to support pediatric cancer research and to pray for other children with the illness.
Jessica Rees always signed her posts with the acronym “NEGU” [NEE’-goo], short for “never ever give up.”
Also, Jessie Rees and her parents started The NEGU Foundation, a nonprofit organization to raise awareness of pediatric cancer, support sufferers and raise money for research.
The foundation sold and provided thousands of “JoyJars” stuffed with candy and toys to sick children.
More than 3,000 were sold and distributed in 27 states last year, according to the NEGU website.
Co-host Ryan Seacrest also allowed her to announce country singer, and eventual winner, Scott McCreery.
Jessica Rees wrote on Facebook that her mission was “to encourage kids fighting cancer to Never Ever Give Up by spreading hope, joy and love. A cheerful heart is great medicine.”
After a particularly hard day in November, Jessica Rees took to her website, jessicajoyrees.com to admonish her pain and focus on her love for all that she did still have in her life.
“I love spreading joy to kids with our JoyJars. I love reading all of the posts on Facebook. I love having so many people praying for me. I love that people are supporting NEGU and allowing us to help kids. I love my family and all of my new friends,” Jessica Rees wrote.
A celebration service was scheduled for Wednesday at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, where her father, Erik Rees, is a pastor.