Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Author Interview: Erik Rees, Author of Never Ever Give Up

Erik Rees is the author of Never Ever Give Up, which is about his daughter Jessie's fight with cancer. Below is a list of interview questions answered by Erik:

Jessie had a strong faith in God. How did she draw strength from her relationship with God during her treatment?

Jessie did have an amazing faith in God which inspires me daily.  She would pray for herself, listen to worship music during treatments and do her nightly devotions with her mommy.  She drew her strength from Phil. 4:13 and asked God daily for support.

Many of your friends and family members walked along side of you during this difficult process. How did this help? 

Jessie was blessed to be part of a great school, church and swim team which provided her and our family wonderful emotional, spiritual and practical support.  After Jessie moved to Heaven, we didn’t have to cook a meal for four months.  months.  Now, Heaven has never been more real to me and I can’t wait to spend time in eternity with Jessie and my Heavenly Father.

Where did Jessie come up with the idea of creating JoyJars? Why did she do this, instead of focusing on herself?
Jessie came up with the idea after she started treatment and learned there were lots of children that couldn’t leave the hospital.  She just had a burden for them and wanted to help them.  The name actually came from taking her middle name “joy” and adding it to “jars”.  She choose to spread joy because she knew life was about giving not getting. 

How did making the JoyJars, not only help others, but also begin helping your family? 

JoyJars gave Jessie a sense of purpose during her fight with cancer.  She loved filling each one and sending them out to kids.  She really loved seeing pictures of kids holding her JoyJars on Facebook.  Our entire family helped Jessie with JoyJars and today we still stuff “joy” as a family in her honor.

How did your kids handle their grief? What advice do you have for parents who are dealing with a tragedy? 

Grief is a powerful emotion that everyone processes differently. Some get quiet and some get loud.  Our job as parents were to simply walk with them through their grief and let them know we were there for them no matter what.  My only tip for parents is don’t hide your pain from your kids.  Let them know you are hurting too and together with God’s help you will all heal.

Erik Rees is the Chairman of the Jessie Rees Foundation, better known as “Jessie’s daddy” to the 310,000 Facebook fans he talks to weekly. Through Erik’s leadership, Jessie’s mission to encourage every kid fighting cancer to “Never Ever Give Up” is becoming a reality. He is the author of S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life and of Only You Can Be You. He and his wife, Stacey, live in Orange County, California, with their children, Shaya and JT, and their four dogs.

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