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Book Review: “Never Ever Give Up”

NEGUAs I mentioned yesterday, Never Ever Give Up: the Inspiring Story of Jessie and her JoyJars® made quite an impression on me. It’s the story of Jessie Rees, her battle with an inoperable, incurable brain tumor, and what she did to change the world in her last ten months of life. Her father, Erik, tells the story.

When I got to the part of the book where the doctor gives Jessie’s parents the news, I was stunned. I closed the book, carried it in to where my husband was, showed him the cover with Jessie’s picture, summarized the story, and said, “This doesn’t happen. Not in this day and age. Not to children and their parents. No.” (I continued to give Mike updates as I read the book over the next three days. Now he probably feels as if he’s read the book, too.)

We hear so much about cancer research and progress made. I guess I thought that, at this point, there must always be some kind of treatment to try that may or may not work depending on how healthy the person is, how soon the cancer is caught, or how aggressive the cancer is. What I didn’t realize is that each kind of cancer must be researched; each needs its own treatment and cure. While researchers have made great strides with some, like breast cancer, others, like the kind that Jessie Rees had and many other forms of pediatric cancer, have hardly been looked at yet. These need attention and funding. The timing of this book’s release is no coincidence: September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Jessie’s story opened my eyes to this great need.

It also inspired me. Jessie cared about other people and wanted to help them however she could. Her father says, “She didn’t wait for permission or instructions. She just thought to herself, ‘What can I do to make someone feel better today?’” The JoyJars® were one of her responses.

Can you imagine a world where everyone in it thought this way . . . then acted on their response?

Zondervan Publishing sent me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this honest review. It’s easily the most educational and inspirational book I’ve read this year. I hope everyone who reads this will go out and read Never Ever Give Up, too.

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Janet Benlien Reeves

Reader, Writer, Runner, Flower Hunter, Child of God, Prince Charming's Wife, Mom Prone to Cheer
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