January 08, 2012 08:00 AM by Shayla Perry
Jessica Joy Rees, the 12-year-old California girl and American Idol fan who chronicled her battle with brain tumors and encouraged other pediatric cancer patients to “NEGU” (never ever give up), has died according to an announcement from her family posted on Rees’ Facebook page.
After spending 10-months fighting multiple brain tumors, Jessica Joy Rees passed away on Thursday, January 5th at age 12.
A poster-child for pediatric cancer patients, American Idol fans may remember seeing Jessica in the audience of the FOX reality show, where she showed up with signs supporting her favorite contestant, Casey Abrams, and included the acronym “NEGU” (never ever give up), which she always used at the end of her blog posts chronicling her disease.
Since the news of her death, thousands of Jessica’s supporters have posted updates and “liked” her Facebook page, surpassing Rees’ goal, which was to get 50,000 “likes,” representing the approximate number of pediatric cancer patients in the U.S.
Jessica, or “Jessie” as her friends called her, began blogging about her disease shortly after doctors discovered that she had an inoperable brain tumor. A second tumor was found months later.
In addition to her blog and Facebook page, Jessie also started the NEGU Foundation with the help of her parents; a non-profit aimed at raising awareness and funds to support pediatric cancer patients and cancer research.
The foundation also made and sold thousands of “JoyJars” filled with candy and toys, and distributed them to sick children in 27 states.
A “celebration service” has been scheduled for Wednesday (January 11) at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, where Jessica’s father, Eric Rees, serves as pastor.
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Photo Credit: FOX