Book review of an inspiring true story of courage and much more!
This is an amazing book for many reasons. If you know nothing at all about this young girl’s story, all I can say is that this is one that doesn’t end well according to our earthly standards. I mean, no one in their right mind desires for their child to die of cancer at such a young age. Right? And with such a rare cancer at that, nobody!
As I read this biography of this young courageous girl living with this cancer called DIPG, I keep thinking of the statistics which have shown that most kids with DIPG don’t survive even a full year and, tragically, 99% of them die!
Cancer has no friends, no gender, no morals, no limits, no age and no family. It is a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden in the beginning of creation. Sin has brought it upon us. We are now living the aftermath of sin and cancer is part of it. It’s sad and I, like most people, want to avoid it. But life doesn’t work that way as this family soon found out…
After reading this true story, I was left with an even more profound truth on my heart that in each of our lives our days are counted and we are to live for a purpose: glorifying God. Of course we know this, but do we live it?
Despite her very young age, I believe Jessie Rees had a sense of this purpose without even knowing it. That is what makes her special even today though she is gone, yet still very present in many people’s lives. She desired to turn her grief outwardly in helping others rather than focusing on herself during her cancer. At her young age, this is remarkably awesome. She was barely 11 years old and already teaching adults by her living through suffering and acting in love, gratitude, kindness, selflessness and acceptance of God’s sovereignty in her own life.
Her wish was to give and share the joy by granting those who were sick the opportunity to receive a gift while they were going through treatments at the hospital. She wanted to give them something to make them smile, spreading joy and hope! What a wonderful heart of kindness and overflow of love. This is where her idea of Joy Jars started and her famous statement of NEGU (never ever give up). All she wanted to do was help those kids she saw… at a time in her life where she was the one who needed it the most!
This story is not one of easy reading; it brought much tears and heartache. I can only imagine the deep pain of losing a child to such a terrible disease. The only comfort as her father repeats is that she is with her Savior and cancer free. I especially appreciated the honesty of Mr. Rees through this painful trial as he graciously permits us to embark along with him and his family. I believe he has granted us a true gift in writing us this book and opening us this window of their precious life to so many. Thank you!
I was deeply inspired by this young courageous girl. Her love for her Lord, her desire to live a life fully and spread joy to others as often and however she could, despite her situation, truly compels me to imitate her. She is a beautiful example of unconditional love. God did not grant her many years to live, yet the years she lived were worth much gold… Oh how much! She died young but she left a legacy behind that has inspired many and is still encouraging today.
Ann L Beaulieu
I have received a free copy by Handlebar Publishing. However I am under no obligation to write a positive review. These are entirely my own personal opinions and thoughts expressed according to my own discernment.