Jessica Joy Rees died on Thursday after a 10-month struggle with brain cancer. Her parents said on her Facebook page: "We have prayed and prayed and prayed for sweet Jessie to be healed here on earth but God's plan was to use heaven for healing."
Jessica, 12, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in March. A second tumor was found six months later in September.
Associated Press reports that before she died, Jessica had hoped to reach the goal of collecting 50,000 "Joy Jars" filled with candy and toys for sick children.
By Friday after she died, her goal to collect "likes" on her Facebook page, one each for 50,000 American children with cancer, had surpassed its goal. Her parents posted a message on her Facebook page that said: "Thank you all for honoring Jessie by helping her reach her 50,000 goal today. We will NEVER EVER GIVE UP spreading hope, joy and love to kids fighting cancer. Jessie's dream is now our destination!"
The Parents of Jessica, Eric and Stacey Rees, called on friends to pray for their family and promised to continue support for cancer research.
Jessica, a seventh-grader, began a blog and Facebook page after she was diagnosed of brain cancer in March. Before she died, Jessica bravely blogged about her struggle with cancer, under the acronym NEGU ("Never Ever Give Up"). She wrote about her struggles with cancer, radiation and chemotherapy treatments she received. She campaigned for her followers to support pediatric cancer research and pray for other children with cancer.
Jessica started the NEGU Foundation, a nonprofit organization with her parents. The organization was dedicated to raising awareness about pediatric cancer and raise money for research. NEGU sold "JoyJars" filled with candy and toys for sick children. More than 3,000 "JoyJars" were sold and distributed in 27 states last year.
Jessica on her Facebook page said her mission was to "to encourage kids fighting cancer to Never Ever Give Up by spreading hope, joy and love. A cheerful heart is great medicine." She wrote on her Facebook page: "I love spreading joy to kids with our JoyJars. I love reading all of the posts on Facebook. I love having so many people praying for me. I love that people are supporting NEGU and allowing us to help kids. I love my family and all of my new friends."
Jessica's father Erik Rees, is a pastor at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest