Jessie Rees Foundation Joined by Olympic & NFL Stars, Anthem Blue Cross in Distributing Toys to Kids with Cancer in Oakland

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Spreading Jessie Rees' motto of 'Never Ever Give Up' across California, Olympic and sports heroes joined the Jessie Rees Foundation in distributing toys to kids with cancer at Oakland Children's Hospital on July 2, 2013.

"Our Never Ever Give Up on Kids tour of California, sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross is off to an incredible start," said Erik Rees, Jessie's Daddy and Foundation CEO. "We will be visiting thousands of kids, from courageous ones who are facing cancer and prolonged illness to healthy ones looking to help at Boys and Girls Clubs and we are excited by the month ahead."

Over the month of July, the Jessie Rees Foundation and its strategic partner, Anthem Blue Cross, will visit all 14 children's hospitals in the State of California, stopping to distribute colorful JoyJars filled with 15-20 toys for each courageous kid with cancer, while engaging kids at Boys and Girls Clubs across the state to help lead healthy, active lifestyles.

"Jessie was always active, whether at home, on swim team, and at school," continued Erik Rees. "Her dream of helping care for every kid to Never Ever Give Up is just growing by leaps and bounds."

The stop at Oakland Children's Hospital is the second on the tour and marks the second time this year that the Jessie Rees Foundation has worked with the hospital to bring star athletes and JoyJars to the facility. It was featured on KTVU Fox-40's newscast, which can be seen here

"Children's Hospital of Oakland gives courageous kids with cancer with groundbreaking care and healing – they embody Jessie’s motto, ‘Never Ever Give Up’, and we are honored that JoyJars will help courageous kids there,” said Erik Rees, Jessie’s Daddy.

Each JoyJar carries 15-20 new, age appropriate, toys within its brightly covered sealed jar for courageous kids with cancer. Jessie started distributing JoyJars herself in 2011 during her fight against inoperable brain cancer. She passed away in January of this year and the foundation she started now serves 202 children’s hospitals and every Ronald McDonald House in America. CNN named Jessie a 'Little Wonder' for her work in December 2012.

“Jessie cared for kids that faced the same struggles she faced by bringing joy to their lives and encouraging them to Never Ever Give Up,” said Erik. “We are blessed to have supporters like Kaitlin Sandeno, and strategic partners like Anthem Blue Cross that have helped us distribute over 54,000 JoyJars.”        

PARTICIPANT BACKGROUND About Children's Hospital of Oakland Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland is the only independent children’s hospital in Northern California. That's why it's able to focus all its attention and all its people on caring for children.

Children's Hospital Oakland, the oldest pediatric medical center between Los Angeles and Seattle, has provided exceptional medical care for children in the region and beyond for 95 years.

CONTACT: Suzanne Berkes (510) 428-3599      sberkes(at)mail.cho(dot)org

Jessie Rees Foundation       Founded in 2011 by Jessie Rees and her family during her fight with inoperable brain cancer, the Foundation helps kids Never Ever Give Up in their quest for healing from cancer. Distributing Jessie’s JoyJars © through 202 children’s hospitals, and every Ronald McDonald House in the US, the Foundation has provided 54,000 JoyJars to kids and families through the support of major corporate partners UPS, Life Technologies, Anthem Blue Cross of California and others. The Foundation has provided 100% of the JoyJars at no cost to the hospital or recipients and is completely funded through private donations.


Jeff Gibson